Minnesota United FC vs. Philadelphia Union | 2017 MLS Match Preview

HYPE: Try and Stop Us | #MINvPHI

TCF Bank Stadium | Minneapolis, Minnesota
09.09.17 | MLS Week #26 | MLS Game #26
7:00 p.m. CT (FOX9+, MNUFC Radio on 1500 ESPN)

2017 Records:
MIN: 7-14-4; 6-6-2 at home
PHI: 8-12-7; 1-8-4 on the road

MNUFC comes home this week brimming with confidence after nabbing the team’s first road win in MLS with its 2-1 defeat of the Chicago Fire. The Loons will welcome a Philadelphia Union team who have looked at blowouts from both sides this season and are currently trying to snap a four-match winless skid. Following MLS’ break for international play last week, everyone should be rested and raring to go for what should be a competitive tilt on Saturday, September 9 at TCF Bank Stadium. Pre-match coverage begins on FOX9+ and MNUFC Radio on 1500 ESPN at 6:30 p.m.

Rookie forward Abu Danladi played a big role in Minnesota United’s win last week, moving up from the midfield to the forward spot to fill in for injured striker Christian Ramirez, who is likely to miss this week’s match as well. Danladi scored both the Loons’ goals a week after coming up short several times in a match against Seattle Sounders FC that MNUFC ended up losing on a penalty kick in stoppage time.

“Number one for me is just getting healthy,” he said when asked about the keys to his breakout performance. The young striker missed several matches to injury earlier in the year. “So only getting healthier, and just continuing what I can do, to make sure I stay fit on the field, and train every day. And that’s my main focus coming from college. Just trying to be a better pro, you know. The more you play at this level, the more you get used to it, the more you learn. I just learn from each game and learn from your mistakes and try to be better for the next game.”

For midfielder Ethan Finlay, this will be his first home match in an MNUFC kit, although it won’t be his first experience at TCF Bank Stadium: the Duluth-born Finlay came here with Columbus Crew SC earlier in the season for a match Crew SC won 1-0. He knows how important the home support will be for the Loons.

“The support we have behind the goal is fantastic,” he said. “I heard them during the game for 90 minutes obviously when we were playing against, when I was with Columbus.”

Finlay has already found success in Minnesota Black & Blue, notching a goal and two assists in his first two matches with the team. The first home match at TCF Bank Stadium will be a new experience, but he feels he’s already made the biggest transition in joining a new team.

“You kind of just go out and play,” he said. “When you’re warming up, new warm up. They sound like little things, but when I walked out on the field [in Seattle] I had no idea what our warm up was going to be like. I had no idea what the pregame regimen was. That was probably the biggest difference, but once I got over that hurdle, you understand what we do on day of game.”

For Head Coach Adrian Heath, the performance in Chicago was on par with the one they put in the week before in Seattle. In his estimation, it comes down to one or two things breaking the right way and continuing to play with the right attitude.

“It was a great performance in Chicago,” he said. “So we need to build on that. And for me, it’s just the intensity levels of playing, working to the plan and basically everybody putting their full shift in like they’ve done. Working so hard for each other, defending the goal properly as a group, every single one of them. And then looking really dangerous on the counterattack. And now the same principles are needed at home. Now we might be on the front foot a little bit more at home, but it’s got to be the same attitude.”

Any new or young team’s main mission — beyond winning the match in front of them — is developing a sense of how they want to play as a unit. That may be even more important than winning any individual match for a team that’s establishing itself in a new league. With shifting personnel since the beginning of the season, it hasn’t always been clear exactly how the Loons want to play, but as more players come in and establish themselves, Heath feels they are figuring it out.

“I just think that it’s a time thing,” he said. “I’ve said this numerous occasions this season: putting so many players and pieces together in a very short period of time, they’re getting to know each other a little bit more. And I just think we’re better now than we were at the beginning of the season. No disrespect, but I think we’ve got a better group than we had at the beginning of the season. And I think that’s shown in performances and results.”

After the match against the Union, MNUFC hits the road for a pair of away matches in Canada next week against Vancouver Whitecaps FC on Wednesday, September 13 at 9:00 p.m. CT and against Montreal Impact on Saturday, September 16 at 6:30 p.m. CT. Both those matches will be broadcast on FOX9+ and MNUFC Radio on 1500 ESPN with pre-match coverage beginning a half-hour prior to kickoff.


Minnesota United
M – Bernardo Anor (L Lower Leg)
M/D – Thomas de Villardi (L Achilles)
M – Sam Cronin (Head)
D – Jermaine Taylor (Head)

F – Christian Ramirez (L Hamstring)

Philadelphia Union
F - Fabian Herbers (sports hernia surgery recovery)

M - Maurice Edu (left ankle/left tibia surgery recovery)
D - Ken Tribbett (left Achilles strain)


Minnesota United

Philadelphia Union
Alejandro Bedoya – yellow card accumulation
Joshua Yaro – red card


  • Charlie Davies and Bobby Shuttleworth played together on New England Revolution from 2013 to 2016.
  • Keegan Rosenberry, Josh Yaro and Brandon Allen played college soccer together at Georgetown from 2013 to 2015. Rosenberry and Allen were with the Hoyas in 2012 as well.
  • C.J. Sapong was briefly a teammate of Kevin Molino’s when he was loaned to Orlando City in 2013.
  • Andre Blake and Jermaine Taylor are both members of the Jamaica national team.
  • Fabinho was in Flamengo’s youth program in 2003 when Ibson was with the senior squad.
  • Jim Curtin and Amos Magee were teammates in 2001 and 2002 with the Chicago Fire.
  • On August 26, Minnesota claimed its first road win since joining MLS, defeating Chicago Fire 2-1.
  • Abu Danladi had the first multi-goal match of his career against Chicago. It was his first time on the scoresheet since June 21. This is the third time a MNUFC player has scored two goals in a match this year.
  • Danladi was named to the MLS Team of the Week for the first time in his career.
  • Ethan Finlay was awarded two assists last match against the Fire. This is just the third time this season a MNUFC player has had a multi-assist match.
  • Finlay has earned at least a point in both of his appearances for Minnesota. He has a goal and two assists in his short time with the Loons.
  • Jerome Thiesson earned his second assist of the season last match. His first came back on March 18 at Colorado.
  • Defender Keegan Roseberry was the only rookie to start in every regular season game during the 2016 season. He was the only field player to play every minute last year.
  • Union goalkeeper Andre Blake was the Goalkeeper of the Year in 2016 with 99 saves and six shutouts.
  • Five Minnesota United players — Michael Boxall (New Zealand), Francisco Calvo (Costa Rica), Kevin Molino (Trinidad and Tobago), Jermaine Taylor (Jamaica) and Johan Venegas (Costa Rica) — were involved with their national teams during the international break.
  • Boxall led New Zealand to win the Oceania region in World Cup Qualifying. The All Whites will play a playoff series against the fifth placed team from CONEMBOL (South America) for a spot in Russia.
  • Ibson will receive a Good Behavior reduction to his yellow card count if he does not get a yellow card this match.