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Molino nets brace for Minnesota

Published: 
Thursday, February 16, 2017
Orlando City FC midfielder Kevin Molino plays against the Houston Dynamo at BBVA Compass Stadium.

T&T international midfielder Kevin Molino continued his pre-season preparation for the upcoming US Major Soccer League season by scoring a double for his new club Minnesota United FC in a 3-3 draw with Real Salt Lake on Wednesday night. It was the third straight draw in Portland.

Molino opened the scoring for the Loons in the 24th minute, when Christian Ramirez knocked a beautiful one-timer ahead to Johan Venegas who tapped a low cross to the T&T front-man, who slotted a left-footed volley past a falling Matt Van Oekel and into the left side of the net.

Four minutes into the second-half, 26-year-old Molino who was acquired from Orlando City SC for $650,000 in allocation money in late January sent the ball wide right to Ramirez, who placed a pinpoint cross into the box.

Once again, the nippy Molino was on spot to find the back of the net after he continued his run and struck an authoritative header into the right side of the net, completing the brace and putting the Loons up 2-0.

Yura Movsisyan cut the deficit to one goal just before the hour mark, and in the 63rd minute, Minnesota brought in Kevin Venegas, Mo Saeid and Ibson, and shifted the formation back to coach Adrian Heath’s familiar 4-2-3-1, and 13 minutes later Real Salt Lake countered with an almost entirely fresh XI, and it quickly paid dividends.

With ten minutes left in the game, a give-away in the back led to an equalizer by Chad Barrett, which was followed seven minutes later Real Salt Lake made it 3-2, and with seconds ticking away in stoppage-time Minnesota grabbed the equalizer (3-3) courtesy Venegas for a fifth straight pre-season drawn result for the Loons.

Speaking after the match, Heath who also coached Molino while they were at Orlando City was full of praise for his high profile acquisition saying, ““For me it’s normal, that’s what I expect out of him, because I know what he’s capable of.”

“I thought some of his combination play with Venegas and Ramirez at times tonight was terrific stuff and he has the ability to be the best player in the league.

“I’ve said it before and I’d say it again. It’s doesn’t matter where he plays, you can play him on the left, play him on the right, you can play him underneath the striker, he always has an impact on the game.”