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Loan Report: Vito Mannone Pulls Off Shock With Minnesota United

The Italian made some key saves in a a big win for the Loons.

MLS: Minnesota United FC at Los Angeles FC Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Game time for Reading players at their loan clubs has been thinner on the ground recently, with some of them jetting off around the world to take part in international duty. Fear not though - we’ll recap all of what they got up to with their countries in our international roundup before the end of the two-week break.

Vito Mannone’s Minnesota United pulled off a great result recently, winning 2-0 at league leaders Los Angeles FC on September 2. The home side dominated the game with 77% possession and 811 passes to Minnesota’s 245 but, despite bombarding Mannone’s goal (23 shots to 5), they couldn’t find a way through. Mason Toye scored twice to give the Loons a huge win.

This truly was a shock result. As The Washington Post wrote, Minnesota “became just the second MLS team to win on LAFC’s home pitch”. They also note that Mannone pulled off eight saves in the game - one of which you can see in the image at the top of this article.

There’s one more game to recap for Minnesota during this period - they drew 2-2 with Mexican side CF Pachuca in a friendly on Sunday. Mannone was an unused sub as Dayne St Clair came into the team.

Modou Barrow may not have scored this week - although he’s already opened his account by netting against Antalyaspor - but his loan club are doing rather well. Denizlispor are one of seven teams in the Super Lig to be unbeaten after the first three matches of the season - the last game in that run being a 0-0 draw at Goztepe SK.

The Gambian winger got 71 minutes on the board before being replaced by former Leeds United man Hadi Sacko. Two minutes later, Denizlispor defender Tiago Lopes was sent off, but Horozlar (The Roosters) held on for a clean sheet - despite the opposition registering 17 shots to their five. That result leaves Denizlispor third in the table, level on seven points with Fenerbahce (!) and Rizespor, but two points behind league leaders Alanyaspor.

Up in Romania, Adrian Popa was the only Royal loanee to get on the scoresheet in this round of fixtures. He opened the scoring for FCSB (Steaua Bucharest) in their 2-1 home win over Viitorul on September 1. Gabriel Iancu equalised for the visitors in time added onto the first half, before Harlem Ghonere found the winner in the second half.

That win brought an end to Steaua’s five-match losing streak in the league. Had they continued it by being beaten by fourth-placed Viitorul, they would be bottom of the table. Instead, they sit on seven points, two above a cluster of three teams that are joint-bottom of the division.

Two academy players have gone on loan overseas since our last loan report. Tom Holmes went to sister club KSV Roeselare on European deadline day, but is yet to make his debut for them. He was on the bench as KSV were beaten 4-0 at Leuven on Saturday, so they should probably think about bringing him in.

Also, Jordan Holsgrove swapped Berkshire for Majorca to join Palma-based Atletico Baleares. He did make his debut, getting 22 minutes for Balearicos in a 1-0 win over Canary Islands-based side Las Palmas Atletico. That was Baleares’ second win of the season, putting them level on points at the top of the table with Pena Deportiva and Atletico Madrid’s B team. However, they lost 2-1 to Rayo Majadahonda on Sunday in Holsgrove’s absence due to international duty, ending their winning run.

Back in the United Kingdom, Marc McNulty’s return to the Sunderland starting lineup wasn’t enough to help the Black Cats avoid a 3-0 loss at Peterborough United. He played 74 minutes of that game, with the chaps at Roker Report saying: “Looked sharp when he got on the ball, unfortunately he barely had a kick all match.”

Down in League Two, Cambridge United’s form has turned for the worse. Two draws and two wins in their first four games had pushed them all the way up to fourth, but they’ve lost their last three, the last two of which come in this round of fixtures. Sam Smith got 90 minutes in a 1-0 defeat at Port Vale, before playing 77 minutes in a 1-0 home loss to Forest Green.

Smith is yet to score for his current loan club, who have fallen to 16th. Cambridge fans seem to be divided on Reading’s academy graduate, as shown by this exchange after the Forest Green game.

Elsewhere, Tennai Watson scored the winning spotkick for new club Coventry City in their EFL Trophy penalty shoot-out win over Walsall at St Andrews on September 3. The game had finished 0-0, but the youngster’s finish meant City picked up a bonus point.

He’d already made his debut for Coventry by playing the final minute off the bench against Oxford United, but stayed on the bench for the duration of the Sky Blues’ 3-2 home win over Blackpool. His only 90 minutes so far this season came in Reading under-23s’ 2-0 defeat at Manchester United in Premier League 2 last month.

North of the border, Luke Southwood has been confined to Hamilton Academical’s bench, watching on as his side have won once, drawn once and lost twice in their opening four games, leaving them seventh (mid-table) in the SPFL.

In non-league, Roberto Nditi made his debut for Eastbourne Borough by coming off the bench at Welling United. He then started a few days later at home to Slough Town, but was sent off after being booked twice. Myles Roberts had been on loan at Tonbridge Angels as goalkeeping cover for Royals academy graduate Jonathan Henly, but has returned to Reading and played for the under-23s in their 2-1 win over West Bromwich Albion.

In China, Sone Aluko’s Beijing Renhe haven’t played since August 14 and don’t return to action until mid-October.