See more of the story

Before Minnesota United played what would be coach Eric Ramsay's first game in Colorado, he was slightly dismissive of how the conditions might affect the game.

"It's not like we're going to play a different sport on a different planet," he said Friday.

After experiencing mile-high soccer, though, he had changed his tune. "It's one of those games that I will try and erase from my memory, because I know we're not going to play in those conditions again," Ramsay said after the Loons played to a 3-3 draw with Colorado on Saturday night in Commerce City, Colo.

In some ways, it might have been Minnesota United's worst performance of the year. Despite taking a 3-1 lead, the Loons struggled to get on the ball, or keep it when they did.

By the end, they had completed the second-fewest passes of any team in the past seven years of MLS, according to the available numbers from

The coach didn't go so far as saying that playing in Colorado was the team's entire problem, but he did note that his players seemed to have an uphill battle in almost every phase of the game.

"We really struggled with the ball today," Ramsay said. "That leads to us playing forward very quickly. [Then] we're not well-connected to pick the second balls up when they drop, and we give an awful lot of space away behind the back line when we've played forward. ... That led to a pretty ugly performance, I would say, and not one that I'd like to produce again."

When long goal kicks go wrong

The first two goals of the match both came from Minnesota United goal kicks — one that ended up in the Colorado net, and one that ended up in Minnesota's.

Ramsay has spoken about how Minnesota's plan from goal kicks is not necessarily to complete a pass, but to get the ball into the correct area. Over the past few weeks, goalkeeper Dayne St. Clair's target has been center back Kervin Arriaga, who will push up beyond the halfway line and give St. Clair a 6-foot-3 target to aim at. And from there, Minnesota wants to win the second ball and play from there.

On both attempts, though, St. Clair came up short of Arriaga. The first time, everything turned out fine; the Rapids won the initial header, but the Loons' Devin Padelford got a foot on the ball, and Wil Trapp won a 50/50 duel to get the ball to Robin Lod. From there, Lod did the rest, with a through-ball to Sang Bin Jeong for the game's first goal.

On the second, though, the Loons lost both the initial header and the second ball, and it was enough to spring Kevin Cabral in on goal to tie the score for Colorado.

"That was a big part of the game that we were really disappointed with," Ramsay said. "We fell into a rhythm that I thought we'd gotten out of. It was an area of the game that it wasn't anything to do with the conditions, it was mostly to do with the setup and levels of concentration, so that was a disappointing part of the game."