This week, Storylines reminds us how unwise it would be to underestimate Seattle, regardless of current form, as we look for wisdom in MNUFC’s U.S. Open Cup game on Wed...scratch that...Thursday.
Beware of Giants
As First Touches noted this week, the MLS version of Seattle thus far this season has been one of the worst teams in the league. They are tied for bottom of the league in points and have attempted fewer shots than any other MLS team. They haven’t won a game in the league since April 2, a game which just so happened to be at Allianz Field. Three straight losses have followed, and Seattle departed the U.S. Open Cup in penalties against San Jose on Wednesday night. Of course, there’s the tiny little detail that their best players have all been saved for the CONCACAF Champions League, which they won amidst all of this. Of the eleven players who started Seattle’s 3-0 win over UNAM Pumas to win that title, only Nouhou has started in their two games since, and seven others haven’t played at all. One might expect that in Seattle’s first game at Lumen Field since the historic victory, their tournament starting lineup may be ready to come back to the league.
If the playoffs are included, only one player has ever scored multiple goals against Seattle for Minnesota, and that would be Emanuel Reynoso. Reynoso’s penalty in the first matchup this season was his second career goal against the Sounders, to follow up his unbelievable free kick that put the Loons up 1-0 in the 2020 Western Conference Finals. Reynoso’s recent penalty finished off a move where Joseph Rosales and Robin Lod combined to send the Honduran midfielder through into the penalty box, setting Reynoso up to score from the spot for one of his two goals so far in 2022. The Loons have always needed a heroic effort to come away with any sort of points against Seattle, let alone in a game at Lumen Field, and Reynoso’s history gives hope that he could be the difference maker.
Get In Formation
In Minnesota’s U.S. Open Cup match against Colorado Rapids, not only did the weather force a dramatic two-day affair with goals scored 16 hours apart in the same match, but Adrian Heath revealed a new formation. After the Loons had consistently set up in a 4-2-3-1 for the majority of the MLS regular season, Heath chose to use a 3-4-3 setup for this affair, with all three of Bakaye Dibassy, Brent Kallman and Michael Boxall on the pitch as a trio of centerbacks, Oniel Fisher and D.J. Taylor as wingbacks, Joseph Rosales and Kervin Arriaga in midfield, and Franco Fragapane and Adrien Hunou flanking Abu Danladi in the front three. The Loons eventually won the game 2-1 thanks to a late strike from Emanuel Reynoso off the bench. Minnesota had 57.6% possession in this game, which would be their highest mark in any matchup against MLS opposition this season. Their 84.6% pass completion would also be their highest of any such game. Could this be a preview of something to be used in future matches?
Seattle Sounders FC vs. Minnesota United FC
Lumen Field | Seattle, WA
05.15.22 | MLS Game No. 11
3:00 pm CT (ESPN, ESPN Deportes, 1500 ESPN)