USATSI_16052775

COLORADO RAPIDS vs. MINNESOTA UNITED FC
Dick's Sporting Goods Park | Commerce City, Colorado
07.07.2021 | MLS Week No. 12 | MLS Game No. 12
8:00 p.m. CT (Bally Sports North, MNUFC Radio on SKOR North)

2021 Regular Season Records (W-L-D):
COL: 5-3-2 (3-1-1 at home)
MIN: 4-4-3 (1-2-2 on the road)

Minnesota United came out of Saturday’s scrap with San Jose a point richer, but ultimately disappointed not to take all three at home off a team wallowing near the bottom of the Western Conference. Unable to match the Quakes’ energy at the start, the Loons conceded early before battling their way back to a 2-1 lead. But when they took their foot off the gas late, San Jose pounced and it cost them. Now the focus turns to the Colorado Rapids, the last team to beat MNUFC prior to their current seven-game unbeaten streak. That loss back in early May stung particularly sharply as it looked like the Loons had shaken off the shock of their first three losses when they went up 2-0. But the energy flagged and the Rapids came back to take it 3-2 at home. On paper, it’s simple: Clean up the mistakes, begin the game with energy, sustain it through the middle, then finish strong. Now they just have to do the dang thing.

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THE OPPOSITION

Since the start of the season, the Seattle Sounders have been the class of the league. In 12 games, they have seven wins and five draws with no losses to their name. And yet on July 4, the Colorado Rapids got a point off them, coming back to equalize in the second half on the strength of Michael Barrios, the diminutive forward who has often given Minnesota United fits. The good news for the Loons is that the Rapids will be missing several players who have headed out for international duty. Midfielders Kellyn Acosta and Jonathan Lewis and defender Sam Vines have all been called up to the U.S. Men’s National Team for Gold Cup action — that’s one player from each line in the Colorado’s usual 4-3-3 lineup. Could missing those three players force Robin Fraser’s hand when it comes to the formation?

ADRIAN HEATH ON THE CHANCES CREATED AGAINST SAN JOSE

“Certainly that’s not been an issue. You look at what we’ve gone through in the last four or five weeks in terms of opportunities, it’s probably a long time since we’ve created this many. Obviously at the weekend, two or three of those chances that we didn’t take and had we gotten the third goal, I think we would have put the game to bed. But when you leave teams hanging around like we did, and you always leave yourself one mistake, one decision from the referee, etcetera, coming back and biting you and that’s what had happened at the weekend.” MORE

HASSANI DOTSON ON THE TEAM'S MENTAL MAKEUP THIS SEASON

“It’s a little different. I think there are spells in games where, absolutely we’re dominant. We’re playing very nicely, loads of possession. When we do that, go up a couple it’s kind of natural to play slower, go on the back foot, hold the lead. But as we’re learning in this league, the score line can change very quickly. We’ve got a lot of leaders in this group and we know it’s unacceptable. We’ve got a lot to prove to ourselves and other people.” MORE

STORYLINES PRESENTED BY BMW

A MEASURE OF REVENGE: Forty-five minutes into Minnesota United’s last game against Colorado back on May 8, it looked like perhaps the Loons had shaken off the rough start to the season that had led to three straight losses. With goals from midfielders Emanuel Reynoso and Hassani Dotson in the first 24 minutes, things seemed to be on the right track. Until they distinctly weren’t. In the second half, MNUFC collapsed and the Rapids ran them out of the building to the tune of three goals in less than 25 minutes. While Head Coach Adrian Heath typically responds to criticism of his substitution patterns by casually brushing it away, it’s hard not to notice that since that game — the last one MNUFC lost — Heath has been making a fuller use of his bench, going to it earlier and using players like Ramon Abila to try and drop the hammer late. Whether that’s simply circumstance or by design remains to be seen, but given the altitude in Colorado and the quick turnaround from Saturday’s draw with San Jose, it wouldn’t surprising to see some rotation in the starting XI and early subs to either secure the game before the energy flags or give the side a shot in the arm in the hopes of grabbing a result. MORE

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FIRST TOUCHES

  • Brent Kallman came on for Michael Boxall in the 29th minute and leveled the game in first half stoppage time with a left-footed strike from a tight angle in front of goal off a corner kick. It was Kallman’s first goal for MNUFC since October 17, 2017 — a 1-1 draw with Sporting KC at TCF Bank Stadium. MORE

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