Minnesota United wins 2-1 at FC Dallas thanks to an improbable goal

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Minnesota United’s two goals on Sunday came from the most unlikely and most surprising sources. Forward Robin Lod set a club record for most career goals in MLS regular-season games, and right back D.J. Taylor scored his first MLS goal in a 2-1 win over FC Dallas at Toyota Stadium.

Minnesota (5-5-3) ended a four-game winless streak and did so against one of the top teams in FC Dallas (6-3-4), which was unbeaten in six home games this season. With one-third of the season gone, the Loons still sit in ninth place in the Western Conference but can end the skid and bank three vital points from a road game.

“Sometimes you get rewarded for your hard work in other games,” manager Adrian Heath said. “I don’t feel like we got anywhere near the reward we should have had for the last two games (a 3-1 loss to Seattle and a 1-1 draw with the L.A. Galaxy).”

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Taylor scored a stunner in the 55th minute when he snapped a long-range volley off a recycled corner kick from Emanuel Reynoso. In addition to being the 24-year-old right back’s first MLS goal, it was the Loons’ first finish from outside the 18-yard box this season.

Taylor, a backup signed from the USL Championship before last season, has stepped into the starting XI and contributed his first MLS assist in Wednesday’s 1-1 draw with the L.A. Galaxy.

With strong defense to add to his game-winning goal, he said he was “super proud” of himself as he was named the man of the match on Sunday. His corresponding charity donation goes to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Minnesota, a cause he champions beyond Mental Health Awareness Month.

“I’ve struggled with mental health as an athlete,” Taylor said postgame. “I think there are a lot of athletes that struggle with it and it kind of goes under the radar because we are kind of viewed as just almost machines.” You are supposed to just reach goals and meet them no matter what it costs, even if it costs your mental peace or emotional peace. I just want to bring awareness to that. “

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Paul Arriola gave Taylor competition for the best goal of the game with his own long-range strike only four minutes later to cut it to 2-1 in the 59th minute. The expected goals for Taylor and Arriola were less than 4%, showing just how rare those finishes were.

In the first half, Lod banged in a rebound goal off a Reynoso 25-yard free-kick that goalkeeper Maarten Paes couldn’t catch. Lod’s doorstep tap-in was nearly 45 percent. For Minnesota, that’s two goals in the moments after a set piece’s initial intent broke down. Lod’s 22nd MLS regular-season goal broke a four-way club-record tie for most goals with Christian Ramirez, Darwin Quintero, and Kevin Molino.

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