See more of the story

Whoever says nothing good ever happens after midnight missed Minnesota United's tense 1-0 victory at Portland on Saturday night.

New Loons striker Adrien Hunou's goal before two minutes were gone — the fastest goal in club history — stood the rest of a late night after the game's start was delayed an hour because of a historic Pacific Northwest heat wave.

The scorching heat that produced a record high temperature Saturday forced an 8:30 p.m. start local time. That meant the game ended with the Loons fiercely holding on to that lone goal well after midnight back home.

A team that started the season 0-4 is unbeaten in its past six games. It has allowed two goals with Tyler Miller in goal during that 4-0-2 stretch.

Once in last place and ninth in the Western Conference before Saturday's game, the Loons now are fifth after collecting 14 points in those six games.

"It was going to be a tall order," Loons coach Adrian Heath said. "But I did know this group is capable of winning, home or away, against anybody. We've got too much quality not to."

Three days after they beat Austin FC 2-0 at home, the Loons flew west on Friday and played Saturday, when the thermometer hit an all-time Portland high of 108 degrees.

They beat a Timbers team that had lost once at home this season and brought home a 2-2 tie from Houston on Wednesday, too. They did so at a Providence Park that allowed 80% capacity attendance. The Loons began MLS play in 2017 with a 5-1 loss and opened the 2020 season with a 3-1 victory there.

"This is a really difficult place to come," Heath said. "We know that. The last couple games we've come here, we've done well."

The Loons also won on the road for the first time in five matches this season.

Hunou scored his second MLS goal in his third game since he left his French first-division team for a new league. It took him, Emanuel Reynoso and new left-side attacker Franco Fragapane less than two minutes to score.

They combined on a three-way passing play that started with Reynoso's pass slipped through the defense to Fragapane, who found Hunou alone inside the 6-yard box for a seemingly simple goal.

Heath praised the play for its movement and the weight and timing of its passes. He also expressed disappointment his team scored just once, for the chances it had all night.

Timbers keeper Steve Clark had something to say about that, though, with two startling saves soon after halftime.

"They're still sort of finding out what the others are capable of doing, and that bodes well for the future," Heath said.

Hunou's second-minute goal was three minutes earlier than goals then-Loons Darwin Quintero and Christian Ramirez scored in a game's first five minutes.

"It seemed a bit longer to me," Heath said. "I've got to be honest, it was a long 88 [minutes] after that."

Heath praised his team's resolve to defend the goal from all over the field. Portland outshot the Loons 22-12, but only two were on target. Included was a decisive two-handed save Miller made on Timbers star Diego Valeri's close-range shot.

It helped, too, that the Dairon Asprilla's blast in the 84th minute smacked the right post.

BOXSCORE: Loons 1, Portland 0

The Loons persevered through the oppressive heat. Players took hydration breaks and pressed cold cloths to their foreheads and necks during them. They flew home afterward, scheduled for an arrival back home after sunrise.

"It was really, really warm," Heath said. "It's the same for both teams. They aren't used to 100-degree heat here. I don't want to be one of them talking about the weather after the game.

"There's a famous expression — the heat makes cowards of us all — and we're not going to use that."

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.