See more of the story

Minnesota United ended up facing FC Dallas with, effectively, half its first team.

When the opponent is FC Dallas, half a team is still enough to get a point.

The Loons, missing 11 of 26 first-team players through international call-up, injury or excused absence, still managed to hold on for a 1-1 draw at Allianz Field on Saturday night against a struggling Dallas team that has claimed only three points in nine road games this season.

"I was really happy with a point," Loons coach Eric Ramsay said. "Relative to the circumstances, that's a really, really good point for us. And I think it means that we roll on in terms of momentum. … I think arguably it's as good an outcome as we could have hoped for."

Despite Minnesota United playing at home, the game turned into a slow, cagey contest. For the most part, the Loons were happy to sit back and invite Dallas to try to break them down — and Dallas, struggling offensively all year, could only respond by sending long ball after long ball fruitlessly over the top of the Loons defense.

"We really needed to make sure that we took away the middle of the pitch," Ramsay said. "We made it very difficult for them to connect the passes in the middle through some of their players that really like to play in that way."

The one exception to the Loons sitting back and waiting was when Dallas was taking goal kicks. As the visitors tried to play the ball short, it gave Minnesota a chance to pounce on any mistakes — and it took the Loons less than 10 minutes to find one.

As Dallas tried to play short, sharp passes, the ball was passed back to keeper Maarten Paes, whose first touch on the ball was terrible and whose second was even worse, as his wayward attempt at a pass went directly to Bongokuhle Hlongwane at the top of the penalty area. Hlongwane's first touch wasn't much better than Paes', but it fell directly to Hassani Dotson, who blasted a low shot past an embarrassed Paes to make the game 1-0.

Only six minutes later, though, Dallas tied the score from a planned corner-kick routine. Instead of a cross, Dallas passed to Asier Illarramendi at the top of the penalty area, who slid the ball to his left for a first-time shot from Liam Fraser — and the midfielder hooked a curling shot past Loons backup goalkeeper Clint Irwin to make it 1-1.

Amazingly, it was Fraser's first MLS goal, even though the 26-year-old midfielder has played the equivalent of 50 full games in the league.

Irwin, making his first MLS appearance of the year, was finally called into action in the 69th minute — and he responded with an excellent double save. First, the 35-year-old dug out a close-range header from Bernard Kamungo, then sprung to his right to deny a bouncing shot from Paul Arriola.

In the end, the game may be less remembered for the final and more for being a showcase for Minnesotans. Homegrown player Patrick Weah, from Minneapolis, made his first MLS appearance since 2021, coming on as a second-half substitute. Apple Valley's Kage Romanshyn also came on as a sub. Add the two to Maplewood's Devin Padelford and Medina's Caden Clark, both of whom were in the starting lineup, and the Loons briefly had four Minnesotans on the field — almost certainly a record for the team.