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MINNESOTA UNITED FC vs. CHICAGO FIRE
Allianz Field | St. Paul, Minnesota
04.23.2022 | MLS Week No. 8 | MLS Game No. 8
4:00 p.m. CT (ESPN and MNUFC Radio on SKOR North)

It was a rainy Wednesday in Wisconsin, but the Loons overcame the elements and claimed victory in the Battle of the Birds. Both Adrien Honou and Brent Kallman scored headers to give MNUFC a 2-0 win, sending them onto the next round of the U.S. Open Cup. The Loons will be back in action at Allianz Field this Saturday in a match-up that could see some similar elements to overcome against the Chicago Fire. Currently, Minnesota and Chicago both sit in seventh place of their respective conferences, with both displaying strong defensive efforts. The Loons do hold an edge up front, scoring eight goals in their first seven games this season, with Chicago lagging with its five goals in just as many league games. There’s no doubt this will be a tightly-contested match, but you can count on the Wonderwall’s willingness to cheer on the Loons. With Minnesota’s scoring capabilities, the Loons have a good opportunity to end Saturday’s game singing.

ADRIAN HEATH ON THE CHANGES TO THE LINEUP FROM SATURDAY'S GAME TO TONIGHT AND THE PERFORMANCE OF THE GROUP...

“I thought we were excellent all evening. Matt’s [Glaeser] got a really good little group here. They’re well-organized, they’re highly motivated and we knew it was going to be tough. But we set us ourselves up nice and early, we kept playing the ball wide, stretching them as much as we could. I don’t Tyler [Miler] had a save to make all evening. Against a highly motivated, well-organized team, I think it was very professional and disciplined performance from our guys, in really difficult conditions.” MORE

ADRIAN HEATH ON THE ATMOSPHERE AT BREESE STEVENS FIELD...

“They’ve got a great little setup here. It was a good atmosphere within the stadium. I don’t think you could really see on the TV but the conditions weren’t ideal for the people that were coming to enjoy to watching football. But they did, they came out, they got behind their team and they can be very proud of what they put on this evening. Very professional. They looked after us really well and it bodes well for their future, for sure. This is a club that can grow.” MORE

STORYLINES PRESENTED BY BMW

  • PIECED TOGETHER: If there’s a recipe that Minnesota could try to use to break through the Chicago defense, it’s their new-found success on set pieces. Between Sunday against Colorado and the midweek U.S. Open Cup clash with Forward Madison, Minnesota found three different goals from corner kicks, and could very well have had more than that. After the Colorado game, coach Adrian Heath said, “Tonight we looked very dangerous on our set pieces for the first time in a few weeks.” Whether struck from the foot of Emanuel Reynoso or Joseph Rosales, the corner kicks have been dangerous and the headers have been on target over the last couple matches. Thus far this season, Minnesota hasn’t been exceptional at drawing free kicks or corner kicks, but it might be worth seeking those opportunities out more actively. MORE

FIRST TOUCHES

  • Both teams can credit outstanding goalkeeping for part of their defensive success. Dayne St. Clair and Gaga Slonina have the two highest save percentages in the league and are the only two goalkeepers in the league above 85% in that category.
  • That said, Slonina has had to make just 15 saves (of a possible 17) across seven games. For comparison, 18 MLS goalkeepers have recorded more than 15 saves on the season. With 23 saves in 5 games, Dayne St. Clair is one of three keepers that has tallied more saves than Slonina in fewer appearances.
  • Wyatt Omsberg was drafted 15th overall by Minnesota in the 2018 MLS SuperDraft. He made seven appearances for the Loons before joining Chicago in 2020. Omsberg has played every minute of the season thus far at the heart of Chicago’s defense.
  • Both Franco Fragapane and Federico Navarro played for Club Atletico Talleres in Argentina before moving to MLS; the two both departed in summer 2021. Emanuel Reynoso also played for Talleres from 2015-2018. MORE