Minnesota United FC vs. FC Dallas
Allianz Field | St. Paul, Minnesota
09.03.2022 | MLS Week No. 28 | MLS Game 29
2:30 p.m. CT (Univision, TUDN, Bally Sports North, The CW - Twin Cities, 1500 ESPN)
Minnesota United is back on their home turf after a tough game in Salt Lake City on Wednesday. Though the Loons made a calculated decision to test their depth as they rested many of their top performers, a 3-0 drubbing will certainly not sit well with the folks in the locker room. As Ted Lasso says, it is time to be a goldfish. MNUFC must move past this hiccup and turn to Saturday’s match against FC Dallas.
Run of Form: L-W-W-W-L
Wednesday’s speed bump excluded, Minnesota United has been very successful recently. Still ranked third in the Western Conference, the Loons have been dancing with club point accumulation records. With the break that has been given to major playmakers like Emanuel Reynoso, Franco Fragapane and others, the team should come out strong against FC Dallas on Saturday. Center back Bakaye Dibassy is out for the season with a leg injury, and there may be some growing pains within the back four as they adjust to that loss. However, with veteran center back Brent Kallman ready to step in alongside longtime defensive anchor Michael Boxall, the team is well-positioned to withstand the significant void left by Dibassy.
Run of Form: D-L-W-W-D
FC Dallas is a good team, no question. What is questionable is their recent run of form. Dallas is a bit all over the place in terms of results, pulling out scattered victories one week, then losing 4-0 the next week. Though Dallas is currently ranked fourth, MNUFC and many other teams in the conference have one game in hand on them. After this week, they may find themselves dropping a few spots in the table if they don’t get a needed three points against Minnesota. FC Dallas will be extra motivated to succeed, with a tough draw in their last match and their position in the top four resting on shaky ground.
Keys to the Match
We miss you, Bakaye -
Last match saw some experimentation with the starting XI, and the Loons need to take what they learned and build upon it. Losing such a strong center back at this point in the season is a major difficulty, but it is not a puzzle that can’t be solved. As the new players fill in their roles and the bench players step up to support, it is crucial that MNUFC figures out who should shift where to keep the ship running smoothly. With All-Star players like forward Jesús Ferreira and winger Paul Arriola on the Dallas roster, the Toros will not be pulling any punches in the attacking third. The Loons need to get their defense buckled down fast if they want this Saturday to mark a clean sweep of the Texas squads in Saint Paul.
Soak it in -
After playing in a difficult environment and garnering a tough result on Wednesday, the Black & Blue will be eager to return to the friendly confines of Allianz Field on Saturday. With an amped-up Wonderwall behind them, expect MNUFC to come out of the gates full-throttle. And as challenges inevitably arise throughout the contest, look for the Loons to feed off the energy of the building, much as they did during last weekend’s dramatic comeback to take three points against Houston.
Be aggressive, passive aggressive -
Energy is important, yes, but if MNUFC has learned anything from the last game, it’s that effort must also be matched by execution. Giving all-out for the full 90 means nothing if the connections aren’t there. Particularly for an injury-thinned squad, playing their third match in eight days, it will be crucial for the Loons to strategically pick their moments to attack. If they can relax into their roles, hold possession, and not force anything, the goals will come.