Minnesota United midfielder Ozzie Alonso distinguished himself during 10 seasons in Seattle by winning big and earning All-Star honors four times.
He added one more small distinction to his legacy Saturday when, 13 minutes into the home opener against New York City FC, he became the first to score a goal in new Allianz Field.
Alonso did so on a powerful volley from 8 yards out directly in front of the goal after an NYCFC defender had headed away Angelo Rodriguez’s scoring attempt.
“I saw the ball and I hit it well and people start screaming,” said Alonso, a defensive midfielder in most other instances. “Means a lot. I never thought I’d score first goal in new stadium. I’m very happy for the goal, but we’ve got to keep going.”
He delivered it with authority and pace five minutes after he also became the first player in Allianz Field history to get a yellow card.
“And it was a class goal,” teammate Brent Kallman said. “What a finish, perfect technique. Yeah, I was a little jealous.”
After he considered keeping the same lineup that won last week at the New York Red Bulls, United coach Adrian Heath inserted star Darwin Quintero into the starting lineup after he missed last week’s game because of a groin injury. Heath started Romario Ibarra just behind Rodriguez in a 3-4-2-1 formation with longtime Loon Miguel Ibarra out for such a historic game because of a hamstring injury.
Quintero played into the 78th minute before Abu Danladi subbed for him.
“It was one of them days not a lot came off for him,” Heath said about Quintero. “There certainly will be better days for Darwin.”
Reason to smile
MLS Commissioner Don Garber sported a big smile on his face well before he reached his destination Saturday at Allianz Field.
“It has been a happy day,” he said at halftime as he attended his 20th opening of a new MLS soccer stadium. “We’ve had a lot of happy days lately. Every one of them is special in their own way, and this one in particular was a challenge to get the project completed and over the finish line. To see it from [United owner/managing partner] Bill McGuire’s vision to what we have today is really remarkable. That’s why I’m smiling.”
• United defender Ika Opara left the game in the 84th minute after he banged heads hard with Valentin Castellanos after both leapt to attempt a header. “I haven’t seen him, but apparently he has a pretty bad cut,” Heath said.
• Heath designated veteran midfielder Kevin Molino as a substitute Saturday for the first time in his road back from knee surgery early last season. “Ideally, we would have tried to get him on at some stage today,” Heath said. But Heath said he was unable to do so when Opara got hurt and Kallman had to replace him.
• Heath said he started Romario Ibarra over Danladi because he wanted to sub in Danladi later after the game got stretched.