Kevin Molino scored a goal on each side of halftime, leading Minnesota United to a 3-0 win over the Colorado Rapids in a Western Conference first-round match of the MLS playoffs Sunday night in St. Paul, Minn.
Emanuel Reynoso assisted on both Molino goals and also provided an assist on Robin Lod's goal, the second of the night for the home side.
The fourth-seeded Loons, in their second consecutive postseason appearance after being eliminated in the first round last year, advanced to play Sporting Kansas City, the top seed in the Western Conference. SKC needed penalty kicks to eliminate stubborn San Jose earlier Sunday. That conference semifinal will take place Dec. 1 or 2 at Kansas City.
Molino first goal came after taking a throw-in. He slipped the ball to Reynoso and made a run toward the goal. Reynoso did the hard work, working his way to the top of the box to deliver the ball to Molino, who stayed onside for the goal in the 22nd minute.
Minnesota United had a golden opportunity to make it 2-0 in the 31st minute, with three players bearing down on goal with the ball and only one Rapids defender back after a giveaway.
The ball came to Reynoso, whose shot hit the right post and rolled away for the Rapids to clear.
Colorado, the West's fifth seed, picked up the pressure on offense out of halftime. Minnesota United was somehow able to clear a couple of shots from deep in the box, the last one from Cole Bassett in the 48th minute. Nicolas Benezet and Bassett had near misses moments later.
Lod made it 2-0 in the 54th minute, dribbling in against his defender and calmly taking a shot that bounced into the net. Then Molino sealed the victory for Minnesota United in the 79th minute.
Dayne St. Clair had six saves in goal for Minnesota United, which welcomed back veteran midfielder Osvaldo Alonso from a leg injury for his first game since Oct. 29.
Minnesota United is on a nine-match undefeated streak, including Sunday's win. Colorado's first postseason appearance since 2016 came to a quick end.
--Field Level Media