Storylines checks in as Real Salt Lake prepares to face the sound and fury of Allianz Field on a holiday weekend. Minnesota looks to open a July schedule full of promise with a positive result, and it begins on Sunday.
The Comforts of Home
Sunday’s game at Allianz Field will mark the first time the Loons have played an MLS regular season match at home since Memorial Day weekend, before the international break. All three regular season matches the club played in June were on the road, traveling to three of the four corners of the country in Miami, New England and Los Angeles. As with most teams in most sports and, specifically, most teams in MLS, Minnesota has historically found more success at home, and has secured 10 points at Allianz Field this season to nine on the road. The Loons have a busy month of July that includes six MLS fixtures, and a whole four of those come at home, the most of any month of this MLS season. Wednesday’s win brought Minnesota back within two points of the playoff positions, and they’ll need success at home to push on.
Spread the Wealth
When looking to stop a Salt Lake team whose 20 goals this season parallel Minnesota’s 20 goals, it isn’t quite as simple as shutting just one figurehead player down. Of the eight outfield players who have started the most games and played the most minutes for Salt Lake this season, each and every one has scored at least one goal. Bobby Wood, Sergio Córdova and Justen Glad are tied for the team lead with three goals each, and there are still more goals further down. In total, the Utah team’s 20 goals this season have come from 11 different scorers. For comparison, Minnesota’s 20 goals have come from nine different scorers, but a whopping 14 of the 20 are from just three players: Robin Lod (6), Emanuel Reynoso (5) and Luis Amarilla (3). The Loons will have to organize well to stop the full-team attack of Real Salt Lake.
A Rey of Sunshine
Minnesota’s dominance of the first half in Los Angeles on Wednesday night was powered by Reynoso’s brilliance. His ninth-minute strike to open the scoring was just Minnesota’s second goal from outside the 18-yard box of the season, perfectly placed to curl inside Jonathan Bond’s right-hand post. His second, which finished a well-placed centering pass by Bongokuhle Hlongwane, proved to be the game’s decisive goal, putting the Loons up 3-0 at the time. Reynoso hadn’t scored from open play since Minnesota’s last game in which they scored three goals, the 3-0 win against Chicago in May. Could the success he found in a half that was as dominant as the Loons have played all season long start a run of goals for Reynoso?
Minnesota United FC vs. Real Salt Lake
Allianz Field | St. Paul, MN
07.03.22 | MLS League Game #18
7:00 pm CST (MLS Live on ESPN+, Bally Sports North, The CW-Twin Cities, 1500 ESPN)