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Loan Report: Cup Final Heartbreak For Vito Mannone

The goalie couldn’t help loan club Minnesota United to US Open Cup victory.

Minnesota United FC v Atlanta United FC: Final - 2019 U.S. Open Cup Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

Momentum can swing very quickly in football and Vito Mannone’s Minnesota United are finding that out the hard way at the moment. After a great run throughout June and July, August is proving to be a tougher month for the Loons, and they are without a win in three.

The Friday night game of the MLS weekend saw United travel to Sporting Kansas City, with the hosts grabbing the winner just two minutes from time. Mannone made a number of saves to keep his side in the game until this point, but a through ball by former Derby County man Johnny Russell to Erik Hurtado saw the striker round Mannone and slot home.

Tuesday night saw Minnesota play for their first ever piece of silverware - the US Open Cup - unfortunately however the Loons suffered cup final heartbreak at the hands of current MLS champions Atlanta United. In a game that finished 2-1 to Atlanta, two goals in six minutes for the eventual winners early in the first half were too much for Minnesota to reply to.

Robin Lod got one back for the Loons two minutes after half time, and Atlanta did have a man sent off with 15 mins to go, but this was not enough for Adrian Heath’s side to overcome. Commiserations to Vito and his team mates.

Cambridge United will be left reeling after their shock home defeat to Oldham in League Two on Saturday. In a match the Us dominated, the visitors managed to come away with a 2-1 win, with former Bolton defender David Wheater grabbing the winner with just under 25 minutes to go. After playing well in the previous games, Sam Smith maintained his starting spot in the side but was substituted after 70 minutes with his side losing.

After claiming a massive scalp in the previous round of the Carabao Cup away at Brentford, Colin Calderwood’s side could not repeat the same feat, suffering a 6-0 demolition by Championship side Swansea City. Smith was left on the bench at the start of this one after the manager made a few changes to the team, but he was given the last 20 minutes to try and help Cambridge save some face, albeit the score was already 5-0 when he came on.

Newly promoted Denizlispor made it two wins from two at the start of the season, winning 2-0 away at Antalyaspor. Reading loanee Mo Barrow started on the left hand side and was arguably the best player on the pitch, grabbing a goal that his performance duly warranted.

The visitors focused the majority of their attacks down the left hand side, giving the ball to Barrow as much as possible for him to run at defenders and do what he does best, before being substituted in the dying minutes. A first-half own goal, followed by Barrow’s strike with just under 25 minutes to go, made Denizlispor one of only four teams to win both their opening games.

One day we at The Tilehurst End would love to report on the Reading players’ performances in Europe, but for now we will have to rely on the loanees. With the displays that Adrian Popa’s Steaua Bucharest have been putting in recently though, that might not last much longer this season. The Romanian side are in the final qualifying round for the Europa League in which they are playing Portuguese side Vitoria Guimaraes. The first leg this past Thursday in Bucharest finished 0-0, with Popa coming on as a half-time substitute but could not help his side to a first leg win.

Things took a drastic downward turn for Steaua as they were beaten 4-0 away at Gaz Metan, in a game where Popa was an unused substitute. This result leaves Steaua rock bottom of the Romanian league.

Last Saturday was a game many Hamilton fans will want to quickly forget after Luke Southwood’s side were beaten 3-1 at by Motherwell in the SPL. An eventful eight minute spell in the first half saw an own goal, two converted penalties and a red card, leaving the score 2-1 to Motherwell after 24 minutes and Hamilton down to ten men.

The game was wrapped up just after the break when Chris Long grabbed Motherwell’s third. Southwood was once again an unused substitute, but this Hamilton fan clearly wants to see the Royals loanee in action sooner rather than later.

Sone Aluko will not be in action for a while yet as he has been injured, but the Chinese Super League is taking a mid-season break. Marc McNulty did not feature in either of Sunderland’s two wins this past week as he is still ruled out through injury.