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Loons Welcome Colorado for Midweek Matchup


Colorado Rapids vs. Minnesota United FC

Allianz Field | Saint Paul, Minnesota

8.30.2023 | MLS Matchday No. 29 | MLS Game 25

7:30 p.m. CT (Exclusively on AppleTV’s MLS Season Pass)

Another home match is on the way! After their draw with Seattle on Sunday, it’s time for your Loons to once again take on the Colorado Rapids, this time on our turf. The Black and Blue got their first-ever win in the state of Colorado earlier this season, a 2-1 victory back in March. Adrian Heath will be hoping to see his squad continue their unbeaten ways in this midweek matchup, and with the playoff race heating up, these three points could end up being crucial.

Minnesota United -

Run of Form (League matches only): L-W-D-W-D

The Loons have picked up four out of six possible points since returning to MLS action, winning on the road and drawing at home. Their Leagues Cup exit against Nashville has proven to be no more than an anomaly in the middle of what has been an impressive run for the squad, with the back line keeping a clean sheet against NYCFC and generally stepping up when called upon in the last two games. The absence of Bongokuhle Hlongwane was certainly felt against Seattle, especially since his emergence as the team’s biggest goal threat. While Hassani Dotson and Joseph Rosales did well on the wings in his stead, the Black and Blue may need to tweak their game plan if their speedy South African winger is unavailable.

Colorado Rapids -

Run of Form (League matches only): L-W-D-D-L

It’s been a frustrating season for the Rapids. They’re sitting in last place in the Western Conference with just 19 points, scoring a league-low 16 goals in 24 games. They’ve made a few moves in an attempt to reverse their fortunes, but the damage may already be done. With just one win in their last five league games, Colorado’s team is in desperate need of a morale boost and three points if they want to even entertain the idea of postseason soccer. While they earned some promising results against Houston, Portland, and Dallas before Leagues Cup, their emphatic 4-0 loss to LAFC in their first league game back killed any momentum they had built up. While form suggests that the Loons have a big advantage in this one, MLS is notorious for its parity. The best policy is to treat every opponent as though they’re dangerous; that way, you can avoid unwanted slip-ups.

Keys to the Match: 

Throw the Kitchen Sink at Them

In their draw against Seattle, the Loons outshot the visitors 16-6, kept 54% possession, and generally played on the front foot. When Adrian Heath went to his bench in the second half, he subbed on three attacking players. Clearly, the goal wasn’t to simply get a result, but to claim all three points, and the strategy nearly worked. If MNUFC was able to dominate an opponent like Seattle with this attack-heavy style, imagine what they could do against a struggling Colorado side. Expect to see the Loons stay aggressive on Wednesday and use their full arsenal of attacking weapons.

Jogo Bonito?

Colorado recently acquired striker Rafael Navarro from Palmeiras on loan. The 23-year-old Brazilian scored 11 goals in all competitions in his home nation, proving to have a skillset that made the Rapids decide to bring him in with a DP spot. Navarro’s first game for the club was against LAFC in a 4-0 loss, but let’s not write him or his influence on the team off just yet. The Rapids shifted to a 3-4-1-2 to accommodate their new striker, pairing him with Diego Rubio and Darren Yapi across the full 90 minutes. With more time together under their belts, perhaps Colorado’s attacking edge will have sharpened a bit. On the other hand, inserting a new piece so late in the season may end up making things worse. One way or another, things are going to look different up top for the visitors; let’s see how this shakes out.

Your Turn, Sang Bin

When he came on against Seattle in the 71st minute, Sang Bin Jeong was a livewire. His relentless pressure, first-rate workrate, and devastating speed made him a nightmare for a tired Sounders defense, and his contributions almost earned his side the three points they were craving. In Bongi’s absence, the South Korean winger may be exactly what the Loons need to break down their opponents. Even when Bongi returns, it feels like Sang Bin’s skillset is going to be vital during the final stretch of the season. Whether he’s starting or coming off the bench, number 11 is primed to make an impact on this game if he gets the chance.