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Preview | Loons Riding High As They Head For The Mountains


Greetings, fellow birdwatchers! As you probably saw with your own peepers over the weekend, our birds continue to fly high and find ways to win, as they did Saturday night at Allianz Field with their exciting 2-1 comeback win over Portland Timbers. While the Loons would appear to be the better club throughout much of the evening, an early Portland goal had the home side down one heading into the locker room. As this club has done for much of the 2024 campaign, they returned to the pitch for the second 45 minutes with more poise than panic and reclaimed the advantage to take all 3 points.

When faced with adversity, this team has kept their heads about them and remained focused on taking care of the task at hand. Under Coach Ramsay’s leadership, the Loons have developed the kind of poise that will be crucial to the club’s long term goals, especially later in the season when a playoff spot is hanging in the balance. Now, as their momentum continues to build, MNUFC will take their show on the road towards the higher altitudes and creepy airport motifs of Colorado to face a Rapids squad that appears to be on the bounceback following last season’s abysmal results. So, let's dig in on what the Black and Blue need to do to keep those victorious vibes coming our way.

| Run of Form

Minnesota United FC (7-2-3)

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

Admittedly, I stared at the run of the form line above a little longer than usual this week. It just has so many W’s in it, and it's freaking beautiful. The Loons haven’t lost in 5 straight matches, and it’s a testament to the workrate they have put in and the strategic execution they have shown against several formidable opponents over this run. Even when they ended in a draw against Galaxy last Wednesday, it was promising to see the squad keep fighting to reclaim a positive result after conceding two quick goals to give up an early lead. The Portland match proved to be another version of the sort of adversity they’ll have to overcome throughout the season, as they fell behind early and had some frustrating calls go against them. But in the face of all of that, the club continued fighting and was able to walk away with a 2-1 victory against a talented and desperate Portland side. As mentioned earlier, poise is power, and the 2024 Loons have shown that they are built for those moments.

Colorado Rapids (6-5-3)

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

Colorado had nowhere to go but up following a disastrous 2023 season, and they appear to be trending upwards as their 2024 season progresses. Though they’ve gotten off to an unexpectedly fast start and currently occupy the 6th spot in the Western Conference, the Loons may be facing Colorado at the right time after their 5-3 loss to the best in the west, Real Salt Lake. While lots of scores found their way into the net during this second leg of the Rocky Mountain Cup rivalry, Colorado’s defensive lapses tell an even bigger story. The Rapids squandered away leads over RSL not once, but twice, relinquishing a 2-0 lead in the first half, then once again after going up 3-2 in the second half. Hopefully, the Loons’ attacking third can find ways to exploit Colorado’s porous defense come Saturday night.

| Keys to the Game

Keep Joe On-The-Go

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’re likely aware that Joseph Rosales is ballin’ this season. A role player in seasons past has transformed into what many see as a key focal point in MNUFC’s attack, while also showing his brilliance as a defender. Plus, over the last four matches, Rosales has registered four assists, which is impressive in its own right. So, yeah, the Honduran is looking damn near indispensable at this point in the season. His end-to-end versatility and creativity with the ball in close quarters have made him a difficult task for opponents to negate. Add in the fact that Rosales’ corner kicks have been a thing of beauty this season, and it’s safe to assume he will be vital to the Loons’ game plan for exploiting the Rapids’ defensive unit.

Keep Your Head(s)

Though I wouldn’t deem this topic to be a problem in the habitual sense, the Loons must keep their heads about them and avoid the avoidable fouls and mistakes. Obviously, the Portland match could have turned on a dime after defender Micky Tapias received his second yellow card that resulted in a red near the end of the Portland match on Saturday. It was rare to see a savvy vet like Tapias lose his cool with the match still hanging in the balance, but this isn’t a common occurrence for Micky either. While Tapias will miss the Colorado match to serve his one-game suspension for card accumulation, the team itself was fortunate to avoid learning a hard, match-altering lesson in the end. But, when the heat of the moment arises, every player must find their chill if they want to make winning the match a “work smarter, not harder” situation.

Keep Cookin’ Up Creativity, Chef

Let’s go back in time to the preseason when the uncertainty was palpable and many were worried/scared/confused/bewildered that the club’s head coaching search remained a mystery. But, now that we’ve seen the level of strategic creativity and boldness this club has exhibited with its personnel choices from match-to-match, it has become clear that the due diligence was well worth it. Head Coach Eric Ramsay has proven to be the right man for the job, in part, because he’s proven to be the right kind of risk taker for this new era at MNUFC. His gameplans truly look to utilize the entire roster’s max potential, and his willingness to put players in places where he believes they can be successful has been a bit of a revelation. Prior to Saturday night, I could count on no fingers the amount of 4-player subbing shifts I had seen since joining the club, and it's refreshing to know that Chef Ramsay is not only willing to spice up his lineups with a little something new from match-to-match, but also that he’s willing to pull the ripcord when it’s time to make a change. Who knows what he will dish up this weekend? I don’t, but guess who else doesn’t know? The Colorado Rapids. 🤌