04.15.22_Storylines_MINvCOL

This week’s Storylines Presented by BMW looks for more goals from Minnesota and cautions against the danger of yet another second-half letdown against a Rapids team that has been-there-done-that at Allianz Field.

Turn up the Heat

The statistics of Minnesota’s struggling attack are plain to see. The Loons are six games into the season with no multi-goal games, and had a season-low 0.4 xG in Austin last weekend as they were shut out for the first time in 2022. It doesn’t appear that life will get any easier against Colorado, either. While the Rapids have allowed three goals twice thus far in 2022, including last weekend against Dallas, the Rapids haven’t allowed more than 1.4 xG in a match since their opener against LA Galaxy, a 3-0 defeat. In fact, even in their 3-1 loss to Dallas, they actually led 1.6-1.4 in the game’s final xG tally. Minnesota needs something to go their way, whether it’s a strategic adjustment that hits just the right spot or merely a lucky bounce and the right kick. Either way, the Loons efforts to reinvigorate their sluggish offense will certainly be something critical to watch.

Focus On Me

In a fixture that has seen some wild results and unexpected endings over the years, one constant has been Colorado’s ability to score goals and come back from deficits in the second half of games. The Rapids have scored 19 total goals against Minnesota, with a whopping 15 of those 19 coming in the second half of games. In 2021, this included a 10-man comeback to turn a 1-0 deficit into a 3-1 win and a 2-0 deficit turned to a 3-2 victory — the latter of which was Minnesota’s fourth straight loss to open the 2021 season. The Rapids were a bogey team for Minnesota from May to October last season. Can the Loons flip the script?

On Your Left

Colorado’s leading goalscorer on the season is Diego Rubio, with three so far. However, the true danger in Colorado’s attack might just come down its right side with Michael Barrios. Barrios has found space to attack in each of Colorado’s last two matches, with his assist leading to Rubio’s goal to take the lead early in the Dallas game. Barrios leads Colorado with three assists, and though he hasn’t scored yet, he’s second on the team with four shots on target. A winger who occasionally looks to float inside and shoot from the center of the field — as he did to challenge Steve Clark against Houston — Barrios created all sorts of problems for opposing defenses in Colorado’s 2021 Western Conference-winning campaign. That said, both Barrios and his right-side counterpart Jonathan Lewis have been prone to turnovers, with 13 apiece to tie for second on their team. Whoever lines up at outside back for Minnesota is going to have a serious challenge on their hands.