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Healthy all preseason, Minnesota United opened its sixth MLS regular season with a contentious, uneven 1-1 draw at Philadelphia and with a starting 11 patched together with three unexpected newcomers and some baling wire.

The Loons played on without injured starters Wil Trapp, reacquired Abu Danladi and both outside defenders Chase Gasper and Romain Metanire — and still left Subaru Park with a point that coach Adrian Heath insisted could have, should have been three.

"To come here on the opening day and perform like we've done bodes well for us," Heath said. "Before the game, would we have accepted a point? Maybe. On reflection, we probably had the better chances."

Heath's team lost its first four games last season and still made the playoffs for a third consecutive season. On Saturday, they started with a point on right-side attacker Robin Lod's 23rd minute goal that Philadelphia countered with Cory Burke's 35th-minute header.

The Loons played with newly acquired defensive midfielder Kervin Arriaga, veteran defender Oniel Fisher and Luis Amarilla all making their Minnesota United debuts — or a welcome-back for Amarilla — all thrust into the starting 11 by necessity.

Heath moved Arriaga next to Hassani Dotson only after the Honduran's final visa paperwork arrived Friday evening.

"It was welcome news for us and the kid," Heath said.

The Loons earned the draw even after Philadelphia outdid them in corner kicks 11-2.

The Union didn't score directly on any of those set pieces, although Burke scored his team's only goal on a ball recycled around after one corner kick.

"Our set-piece defending generally was very good when you consider the size they have," Heath said. "We can't be pleased with the goal allowed, but we did well. We defended (set pieces) well."

Two goals remained the total for the afternoon only after Union goalkeeper Andre Blake's reaching save denied second-half sub Adrien Hunou's strike from 22 yards in the 93rd minute.

The opening-day game was stretched by tired legs and lungs, often leaving a noticeable hole in the pitch's midfield.

"Just because the first game of the season and all the players and all the teams aren't in the best shape they can be," Lod said. "The game stretches out. The second half, there's like no midfield and you're going back and forth because it's so early in the season."

Heath often says he expects 10 goals a season from Lod, the Finnish national team player who scored zero, seven and nine goals in his first three MLS seasons.

Lod scored Saturday with a rising left-footed shot near the penalty-kick spot. His training camp arrival had been delayed in January by military duty back home and family time after that.

Attacker Franco Fragapane's left-side run with the ball and Amarilla's decoy run that drew defenders created the space for Lod's first goal in 2022.

"I don't think people realize for two months he was in a forest somewhere in Finland," Heath said. "It has not been an ideal rest and recovering for him. He's still probably not 100 percent. It'll probably take the new few weeks for him."

Heath called it a "good goal" because of the parts all three played in creating it.

"We've got intelligent players who can create and score goals in the final third," Heath said. "The trick was Fraga looked like he was going to pass and then he made the extra touch. Let's just say good goal."

The Star Tribune did not travel for this game. This article was written using the television broadcast and video interviews before and/or after the game.