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Preview | A Midweek Test From One Of The West's Best


Greetings, fellow birdwatchers! I hope you had a lovely weekend in which you let your mother know how much you love and appreciate her. If not, we aren’t mad…but maybe slightly disappointed. When it comes to the Loons’ run of form prior to last week’s short pause on their regular-season schedule, fans felt anything but disappointed. To go into a hostile environment like Atlanta and take three points is just another example of the intestinal fortitude of a Loons side that continues to keep the foot on the gas, and remain near the top of the table in the Western Conference. And, this past week of rest may have been just what they needed before going into a double-match week for the Loons, which starts with a team they’re tied with in the standings in the LA Galaxy. But, before Wednesday night’s showdown between two of the best in the West, how about we take a closer look at how the Loons can emerge victoriously to hear the sweet sounds of Wonderwall being sung by a grateful Legion of Loons?

| Run of Form

Minnesota United FC (6-2-2)

Run of Form: W-W-W-L-D

While no fan enjoys a Loon-less weekend, the short break feels like it came at the right time for the boys, especially with the next stretch of matches on the horizon. Following hard-fought victories against Atlanta United last week and Sporting Kansas City the previous week, the week off could prove to be ideal for the Loons to refresh and prepare what’s next on the docket. That would be an LA Galaxy side that is in the midst of a resurgence in 2024, after last season’s near-last-place finish in the Western Conference.

LA Galaxy (5-2-5)

Run of Form: D-D-L-W-W

This past weekend saw the Galaxy grab a point in a thriller against the club currently sitting atop the Western Conference, Real Salt Lake. While the LA equalizer would come at the death of the 94th minute, the excitement of the moment doesn’t look quite as exciting when considering the Galaxy had many opportunities to take control of the match. With over 20 shots on goal, the LA attack showed that they present a challenge to any team in the league. While their attacking third once again looked potent, if not a little lacking in the finishing department, LA’s defensive third did show some vulnerability against Real Salt Lake. Granted, facing the likes of Chicho Arango is a challenge for any defensive line, but the Galaxy’s consistent defensive lapses may be a weakness the Loons can exploit when they face off on Wednesday night.

| Keys to the Game

Unplug Puig

It’s not much of a secret, but Spanish midfielder Riqui Puig is the engine that makes the Galaxy’s attack go. While he’s no slouch when it comes to putting the ball in the net on his own, Puig’s true superpower is his ability to transform into soccer’s version of NBA legend John Stockton (sans the short-shorts) by putting his teammates in a position to score. If you need a couple of examples of that superpower, take a look at both of the scores the Galaxy had on RSL last Saturday. Both goals were assisted by Puig, and both of his passes were absolute dimes in terms of accuracy. For the Loons to keep Puig from finding those opportunities, they will need to limit the space he’s given to create them. Even with less space to operate, Puig can still make plays, but if the boys can apply pressure on him throughout the match, they can keep LA's attacking engine in neutral.


Puig’s playmaking abilities will certainly be top of mind for the Black and Blue’s efforts to keep the LA attack in check, but physicality may play a key role to finding their own success within LA’s box. The Galaxy defense has found it difficult to win the physical battles within their own box, and that could play right into the hands of a Loons squad that rarely, if ever, shies away from those opportunities to impose their toughness on the opposition. Especially when the boys are able to put together the right kind of set pieces off a corner or free kick, MNUFC seems to have the kind of big bodies that could create scoring opportunities by flexing their muscle near LA’s goal.

The Freshness

While it was impressive to see the Galaxy draw even with RSL after going into the half down 0-2, the match was a bit of a slugfest. No, not the kind of slugfest that Toronto and NYCFC were looking to have last weekend, but pulling even in the late stages required an incredible effort from the home side. Now, they come to Allianz Field on an even shorter amount of rest than usual to face a Loons team that’s had a week to rest and regroup. And, if this Wednesday’s match ends up being a battle of wills until the late stages of the match, my feeling is that the club with the freshest legs will have the advantage when it comes to finding a positive result in the end.