REAL SALT LAKE vs. MINNESOTA UNITED FC
Providence Park | Portland
02.15.17 | MLS Preseason
7:00 p.m. CT
On Wednesday, February 15, Minnesota United wraps up its participation in the Portland preseason tournament with a match against Real Salt Lake at 7 p.m. CT. In their previous two matches of the tournament against Vancouver Whitecaps FC and the Portland Timbers, the Loons have notched two draws with three total goals.
MNUFC has sent out two almost entirely different starting XIs so far, gauging combinations and evaluating what’s turned out to be a good amount of depth on the bench. Standouts so far have included attacking play from Kevin Molino, Johan Venegas and Bashkim Kadrii, plus solid goalkeeping and leadership from veteran John Alvbage. The wealth of draws the team has had so far aren’t a concern for head coach Adrian Heath.
“No complaints,” said Heath. “We're pretty injury free which is always the main thing and worry in preseason, so I think we've gotten better each game, so so far it couldn't have gone any better.”
Venegas — previously with the Montreal Impact — scored twice in Minnesota’s game against the Portland Timbers on Sunday night, with Kadrii getting the assist on his second goal. Heath’s main concern remains getting minutes for everyone so they can keep learning and he can keep evaluating.
“We're getting to that stage now where we want to give somebody a few more minutes and we're looking forward to another competitive game,” said Heath. “The lads have gotten better from each performance. Can we make it another better performance, can we up the intensity, can we implement what we've been doing in training in the match? So that's what we'll be looking for in another competitive runout and another opportunity to get some more minutes into a lot of the guys.”
Real Salt Lake comes into the match having also drawn in its first two contests at Providence Park. They came back from a 3-1 deficit to finish 3-3 with the host Portland Timbers, then came back from down 1-0 against Vancouver Whitecaps FC on a late goal by Jordan Allen to stay unbeaten. Midfielder Luke Mullholland was a former standout for the Minnesota Stars, helping the team to the Soccer Bowl title in 2011.
So far in the Portland tournament, the Loons have given up two leads to end in draws, while Real Salt Lake has come back from two deficits to end in draws. If you’re one for predictions, you could do worse than projecting an early lead for Minnesota United and an eventual equalizer for Real Salt Lake. Tune in to the livestream on MNUFC.COM on Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. CT to see if the projections are wrong.