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An already undermanned Minnesota United team played even more so in Saturday night's 1-0 home loss to Austin FC.

The Loons went the final 65 minutes with 10 men as Austin striker Diego Rubio's 31st-minute goal stood up as the winner.

Midfielder Hassani Dotson was sent off just 26 minutes into the game after he was whistled for two tackle attempts within 40 seconds of each other.

Referee Drew Fischer gave both tackles a yellow card, which together equaled a red card and ejection. Fischer had previously indicated how he'd call the game by giving Loons defender Miguel Tapias a yellow card in the 12th minute.

Loons coach Eric Ramsay disagreed with both of Dotson's yellow cards.

"No one can look at them and say they are yellow cards," Ramsay said. "I don't want to be someone who comes out and talks about the referee decisions and the way in which they influenced the game. I don't want to dwell too much because everyone has seen with their own eyes how the game the was impacted by those instances."

Dotson had scored a goal in each of the last two games.

It took Austin FC just five minutes to turn that man advantage into Rubio's fourth goal this season — and a 1-0 lead that Austin never relinquished despite the pressure the Loons mounted as the game progressed.

"It's not ideal," Loons defensive midfielder Wil Trapp said. "The mentality of the group wasn't anything about we're going to give up. I don't think you saw that from us."

With Dotson out, Ramsay adjusted the Loons' starting 3-4-3 formation to a 4-4-1. At halftime, they changed again and went with Bongokuhle Hlongwane and Sang Bin Jeong up top. Ramsay called it successful despite being unable to beat Austin FC keeper Brad Stuver. Subbing Caden Clark and Franco Fragapane into the game in the 58th minute also provided needed energy but no goals.

"We had a really good go in the second half, which is important," Ramsay said. "The players did exactly as we wanted them to respond. You strip away all the disappointment of the situation we find ourselves in the moment, and this performance will stand us in good stead as the season goes on. As disappointing as tonight is for a load of reasons, there's far more positive than negative to take from it."

Austin FC ended a five-game winless streak and won for the first time since May 18.

The Loons were on a six-game winless streak themselves. They're now 1-4-2 in their last seven games and haven't won since beating Sporting Kansas City on June 1.

It was Rubio's sixth goal against the Loons in his eight-year MLS career with Sporting Kansas City, Colorado and now Austin. The Chilean striker also has three assists against them in that time.

"When you set a precedent with yellow cards, make or break calls that changed the game, it's just a little frustrating to be down a man in the 25th, 26th minute," Trapp said. "They were in pretty quick succession. That's the way he wanted to referee, so it certainly changed the complexion."

BOXSCORE: Austin FC 1, Minnesota United 0

On Wednesday, Ramsay didn't attribute any of the goals the Loons allowed in a 5-3 loss at Dallas to veteran goalkeeper Clint Irwin, who has become the starter while Dayne St. Clair is away on international duty with Canada at the Copa America.

This time, Irwin charged out of goal to punch away a cross into the six-yard box, but it went straight into Rubio's feet outside the box. Rubio took time to gather the bounding ball and put it right back past Irwin — out of goal and way out of position — and low into the goal.

"Clint's really disappointed with that one," Ramsay said. "I'm sure he'd be the first to say he would like to deal with that better. It's one of the few opportunities we gave them over the course of the game of real note. It's real disappointing because he has done a really good job for us in really difficult circumstances."

The Loons again played with a modified back line due to injury and circumstance. This time, they were seven men short, with four still with their national teams at the Copa America and three injured. Kervin Arriaga returned to play right center back on the three-man back line after he didn't go to Dallas for Wednesday's game. Wingback DJ Taylor also returned from an injury.

Austin FC star Sebastian Druissi was ill and did not play.