20210718_Seattle_A17I2245

MINNESOTA UNITED FC vs. SEATTLE SOUNDERS
Lumen Field | Seattle, Washington
09.11.21 | MLS Week No. 22 | MLS Game No. 22
4:00 p.m. CT (Bally Sports North+, The CW Twin Cities, MNUFC Radio on SKOR North)

2021 Regular Season Records (W-L-D):
SEA: 12-4-6 (5-3-4 at home)
MIN: 8-6-7 (2-3-5 on the road)

When Minnesota United traveled to Seattle to open the 2021 season against the Sounders, they were returning to Lumen Field with a cloud hanging over them — the loss to the Sounders at the death in the Western Conference Final in 2020. Any hope of redemption disintegrated shortly into the second half as João Paulo’s wonder strike in the 49th minute opened the flood gates for a four-goal loss. That loss in turn opened the flood gates for a four-game skid to start the season, but now the Loons return to the Jet City with just two losses in their last 17 games — a point per game pace much more in line with the top four finish the Loons’ faithful were gunning for prior to the season. But the fact remains: MNUFC have never won in Seattle, have never even taken so much as a point there. If the Loons are going to show that they truly belong in that top four out West, they’re going to have to start showing they can do it against the best, on the road, and it can start with this game.

THE OPPOSITION

Now that Seattle’s best playmaker Nico Lodeiro is at last back from injury, it’s time for the Sounders to turn on that late-season sparkle and start their climb up to the top of the Western Conference and … Ah. Well. Nevertheless. Yes, it seems that even without Lodeiro and several other key players, the Sounders have put together a heck of a season already, largely thanks to the efforts of Golden Boot leader Raul Ruidiaz and midfielder João Paulo. But as ever with a Brian Schmetzer team, it’s been a collective effort to weather results like yet another home loss to the Portland Timbers in their last game and stay the course. It might be difficult to gameplan for, but the Loons best hope might be that reintegrating Lodeiro is a bigger bump in the road than anticipated and that they can take advantage in a high leverage moment to finally get a result at Lumen Field.

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ADRIAN HEATH ON WHAT'S AT STAKE THIS WEEKEND AGAINST SEATTLE:

“Keep the run going. You look at where the table is now, everybody is bunching up now in and around that playoff line, so it’s important to put a little bit of gap between one or two of us. The fact that one or two played this weekend, it’s closed up again. We’ve got a huge week coming up, we know that. We go to one of the most difficult places in the league in Seattle on Saturday, and the we go to Kansas who are never easy, and then we’ve got the Galaxy. Big week coming up for us.” MORE

ETHAN FINLAY ON WINNING IN HOUSTON:

“I think it gave us that confidence that we know we can do it. We’ve been so close. Going back to the Seattle game at the start of the year, we were the best team for 60 minutes but you look at the score line, we got walloped. It was a little bit of validation that this group can go on the road. We still have some scars from that Colorado game, 2-0 on the road, right? We know we can get results on the road. Coming out with a 2-1, gritty, maybe ugly, performance in Houston gives us a little validation that OK, we can do this, we can close this thing out. You’re going to need that attitude going to places like Seattle, places like Kansas City. You might have to make the game a little bit ugly and to withstand the late pressure Houston put on us and get a result on the road, was great for confidence, not only for the guys on the field, but even for the guys back here. There was a lot of guys texting after that game what an important win [it was]." MORE

STORYLINES PRESENTED BY BMW

LOOKING PNW AND FEELING MINNESOTA: Seattle may have held the upper hand overall when it comes to soccer, but when it comes to music, things gets considerably more complicated. The Emerald City is known overwhelmingly for its contribution to alternative music in the early ‘90s thanks to an arm’s length list of bands headlined by Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Soundgarden. A little past them in the mid ‘90s lies seminal emo band Sunny Day Real Estate, but Seattle also boasts ‘70s and ‘80s women-in-rock icons Heart and a pair of killer singer-songwriters in Neko Case (from nearby Tacoma) and Brandi Carlile. Of course, it’s also the hometown of Jimi Hendrix — although Hendrix never looked back once he left in 1961 to join the US Army. That makes him more than a little like one of Minnesota’s favorite musical sons, Bob Dylan, whom the Land of 10,000 Lakes loves to claim even though he as well left young. Dylan, at least, came back to finish making his landmark 1975 chronicle of heartbreak, Blood on the Tracks, with a band of Minnesota musicians. Minnesota’s alternative moment began just ahead of grunge in the mid to late ‘80s and was spearheaded by the Replacements, Hüsker Dü, Soul Asylum and the alt-country of the Jayhawks and the slowcore of Low. There’s also been a perhaps surprisingly robust hip-hop, funk and R&B scene on a low simmer ever since Prince first put the Twin Cities on that map in the early ‘80s. Besides Morris Day and The Time and wonder-producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, the Twin Cities have been a breeding ground for indie rap like Atmosphere and Dessa, Saint Paul’s own Mint Condition and — most recently — mega-crossover star Lizzo. Seattle’s biggest hip-hop success is … Macklemore. Ultimately, Seattle circa ’91 put up a championship run worthy of any top-heavy, star-laden team that racks up the hardware before breaking up. Minnesota’s musical pedigree might never have been so singular or newsworthy, but it’s arguably been longer, more consistent and more diverse. Oh and Kenny G is from Seattle, so a negative million points for that. MORE

FIRST TOUCHES

  • In 2004, Seattle Sounders Assistant Coach Freddy Juarez played on the Minnesota Thunder with MNUFC Director of Player Personnel Amos Magee. In 2006, he was on the Thunder’s roster alongside Brian Kallman, the brother of current Loon Brent Kallman. MORE

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