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Minnesota United gets late goal to beat Portland 1-0

Midfielder Emanuel Reynoso did not play, although he was cleared by Major League Soccer earlier this week.
Credit: AP
Portland Timbers midfielder Sebastián Blanco reaches for the ball against Minnesota United during an MLS soccer match at Providence Park in Portland, Ore. on Saturday, May 20, 2023. (Vickie Connor/The Oregonian via AP)

PORTLAND, Ore. — Bongokuhle Hlongwane scored late in stoppage time to give Minnesota United a 1-0 victory over the Portland Timbers on Saturday night.

Minnesota goalkeeper Dayne St. Clair made four saves in the victory, including a dangerous header from defender Zac McGraw in the 89th minute.

The loss snapped a four-match undefeated run for Portland.

Minnesota midfielder Emanuel Reynoso did not play, although he was cleared by Major League Soccer this week. The two-time All-Star did not report to the team at the start of the season and was suspended by the league.

In a statement released by the team, Reynoso said he remained in his native Argentina because of unspecified family issues. He arrived back in Minnesota on May 6.

“The truth is I went through a very difficult time in my life,” he said in the video statement released Friday.

Reynoso has 16 goals and 28 assists in 71 games for Minnesota since joining the club midway through the 2020 season. Last September, he signed a three-year designated player contract extension with a club option for 2026.

Minnesota (5-5-3) was coming off a 1-0 victory over the Houston Dynamo on Wednesday. The win was costly, however. Midfielder Robin Lod suffered a torn meniscus in his right knee and will undergo surgery on Monday.

“I was so pleased with the players. I thought, first off, our performance was excellent, I thought we had a really good defensive shape, and that goes for everybody. The front six, I thought, were magnificent in taking away certain players for them. It's a big night for us because obviously, no Robin Lod, no Reynoso, and we come to a place that's always very, very difficult," United coach Adrian Heath said.

The Timbers, who outshot United 20-9, came close in the 66th minute when Evander's shot hit the crossbar. St. Clair pushed another Evander attempt over the bar in the 73rd minute.

After Hlongwane's goal moments before the final whistle, Portland goalkeeper Aljaz Ivacic pounded the turf. Ivacic also finished with four saves.

Known as Bongi, Hlongwane paid imitated Lod's bow-and-arrow goal celebration. “That was for him,” Hlongwane said.

The Timbers (4-6-4) played to a scoreless draw with Real Salt Lake on Wednesday.

Portland's Diego Chara played in his 377th MLS game, pulling him into third place on the league's career list ahead of Kyle Beckerman.

Sebastian Blanco, who struggled with injuries last year, made his regular season debut for the Timbers in the 79th minute.

“The critics are just going to look at the goal at the end and not all the things we did well," Timbers coach Giovanni Savarese said.

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