Loons Hope To Stay On The Rise and Reign Over Seattle


Minnesota United FC vs. Seattle Sounders FC

Allianz Field | St Paul, Minnesota

08.27.2023 | MLS Matchday 28

3:30 p.m. CT (AppleTV - MLS Season Pass, FOX, 1500 ESPN)

Hello, fellow waterfowl enthusiasts! It’s always nice to end your weekend on a high note, and the Loons certainly did that Sunday in their return to MLS regular-season action as they fought their way to a 2-0 win over NYCFC. Following a sloppy, somewhat uneventful first half for both squads, the Loons would get the jolt they needed from the recently-reacquired Jan Gregus in the 53rd minute of the second half, when the midfielder’s shot from about 25 yards out rocketed its way into the top right corner of the NYCFC net. The Loons displayed a great deal of grit down the stretch, as the defense was able to hold steady and get the three points. Now, with momentum continuing to build off their Leagues Cup run and strong restart to the MLS regular season, the Black and Blue return home for a Sunday matinee at Allianz Field against Seattle Sounders. The Loons will match up with a Sounders squad that, while they sit in the fourth spot in the Western Conference, appears to be trending the opposite direction. That may sound like good news for the Loons, but Seattle has been a stumbling block before and would surely love to be again. So, how can the boys keep the Sounders from spoiling a perfectly good Sunday Funday? Let’s get into that…

Minnesota United FC

Run of Form: W-L-W-W-L (All Competitions)

The return to the regular season did not disappoint, at least not for the sake of moving up in the Western Conference standings. After showing what the Loons' attacking third was capable of in their run up to the Leagues Cup quarterfinals, goals weren’t as easy to come by Sunday night against NYCFC, who played tough in the face of the Loons' offensive pressure. Minnesota still looked formidable off the ball, but there is cause for some concern over one of the most important attacking players injury status, as Bongokuhle Hlongwane had to exit the match early after a hard tackle. An MRI this week revealed that there was no structural damage in Hlongwane's knee, causing MNUFC fans everywhere to breathe a massive sigh of relief. Depending on his availability this Sunday, the Loons may need to tweak the lineup appropriately if our boy Bongi isn’t able to go.

Seattle Sounders FC

Run of Form: L-L-L-D-L (All Competitions)

For a team sitting fourth in the Western Conference, the Sounders recent run of form has been tough sledding. That might even be putting it mildly after Atlanta would go up 2-0 in the early minutes of the first half and hold Seattle scoreless until the final whistle. Not exactly the way they wanted to restart regular-season play after going winless in Leagues Cup action and falling prey to elimination before the knockout rounds. That said, this is Seattle, a team that MNUFC doesn’t, and shouldn’t, take lightly. With a 1-11-1 all-time record vs. the Sounders, Minnesota will be particularly focused and hungry entering this affair as they look to continue their recent momentum against a faltering Seattle squad.

| Keys to the Game


I realize this sounds like a no-brainer, but let’s take a lesson from Atlanta from this past weekend. Their 2-0 win over Seattle was highlighted by a quick start in the final third, with both goals coming within the first 15 minutes of the match. The Loons attack has that kind of quick strike ability, and it would serve them well to press high on the Sounders from the get-go. Easier said than done, especially with Bongi’s status still uncertain following the knock he took in NYC, but with a usually stout Seattle defense looking rather un-stout and surrendering more goals then normal, a fast start could doom the Sounders.

Keep ‘Em Off Their Game

In their recent, rough run of games, the Sounders have not looked like themselves on the attack, and their results reflect that. It’s rare to see a Seattle squad be so inept at finding the net, and over the course of their last five games, the Sounders have been held scoreless in three of those matches. Their ability to finish, or lack thereof, seems to play a major factor in their subpar scoring output — more so than chance creation — so they will be looking to work through the glitch and back on track against our boys. And, remember, they have that fella, Jordan Morris? They will be looking to get him the ball in dangerous positions and regain their usual scoring prowess. But if this Loons' defense is able to put in the kind of disciplined performance they showed against NYCFC, they could put the clamps on a unit already struggling to produce.

Don’t Sleep

Regardless of the recent run of form, these are the Seattle Sounders, and we’re no strangers to their shenanigans. Right now, they're on the downswing, but Seattle has a knack for pivoting to change their season's fortunes. And, although they sit in the fourth seed, the Sounders know that with such small point differences separating the Western Conference playoff teams, they need to right the ship in a hurry. At the very least, Head Coach Adrian Heath is not one to ever underestimate a matchup with Seattle, mentioning the tough task that lies ahead following the win over NYCFC. The Loons can’t afford to stop their momentum as it builds steam late in the regular season, and they need to be sure to sidestep this landmine.