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Storylines | Weekday Matchups: A Mini-Retrospective


Greetings, Loon lovers! Storylines is back and ready to take you back in time, but without Doc Brown, a DeLorean or the 1.21 gigawatts that make time travel possible. While that would certainly be a far more awesome way to gather information needed for a historical overview of the Loons’ record in weekday matchups since joining Major League Soccer, logistics would be an issue. And, with a Wednesday night matchup in Dallas looming and no legit connections for obtaining plutonium, the cold, hard data will have to suffice.

Weekday matchups are nothing new, of course, as all MLS clubs have to contend with the scheduling gods and their ability to implement two matches in a one-week span. While the amount of double-headers can vary from club-to-club and year-to-year, the Loons have shown that when it comes to facing a foe on a Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday, home is where the heart is. And, by heart, I mean success, as the Loons have compiled a solid 13-1-7 midweek record at the friendly confines of Allianz Field (plus, TCF Bank Stadium) since joining the ranks of Major League Soccer in 2017. In addition, Wednesdays tend to be the least welcoming days in Saint Paul for visitors, as the Black and Blue have not lost a Wednesday regular season match at home in their entire MLS history.

But, as many players can attest, a double-match week can be an absolute slog when it comes to keeping form and staying healthy. While more recent history has shown that Loons have a knack for finding success on the road, historically, weekday matches away from Allianz Field have been far less fruitful. Since 2017, the Loons have compiled a 4-19-5 record when facing teams on the road on a Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday. And, when you dig in a little further on Wednesdays specifically, as most midweek matchups are usually played then, success has certainly been evasive, as they have only been able to muster a mere 2 wins away from home out of a total of 20 Wednesday matchups since 2017.

Now, in the present, the Loons will have to contend with more than jet lag or the usual bumps and bruises that come with a two-match week, as Dayne St. Clair, Tani Oluwaseyi, Alejandro Bran, and Carlos Harvey remain on international duty for Copa America, once again leaving holes to fill within the starting XI and first-team bench. While they were able to overcome some of these absences with their 1-1 draw at home on June 8, Toyota Stadium hasn’t always been that friendly of a place for the Loons, with an all-time record of 2-4-2 in regular season play. And, after notching the 2-0 victory over St. Louis CITY this past weekend, their first of the post-Nico Estévez era after the coach was let go following that June 8 matchup with the Loons, Los Toros may be riding the momentum of that “new coach bump.”

However, Coach Eric Ramsay continues to implement his creativity and strategic IQ into the roster he presently has in Minnesota and, after facing challenges of this magnitude throughout his short tenure with MNUFC, his squad will be prepared to compete. He said as much following Saturday’s 2-0 loss in Seattle, with the gaffer already recalibrating his focus to his midweek matchup.

“We will regroup on Monday morning and we will see what we’ve got, we will see who is in what state and we will have a good look at the opposition [FC Dallas] and review our game against them from last week. We will put together what we feel will be the best course of action to go and tackle that game and that’s all we can do in this situation. In some senses I really relish the challenge of being a coach in difficult circumstances. It’s really trying, it tests you to your limits and I am really trying to make sure that the players look at it in that way as well.”

With that kind of perspective and his ability to get the best out of every player on the pitch, Ramsay may represent a sea change for the better when it comes to the Loons’ long-term fortunes in midweek matchups on the road.

Shout-out to MNUFC Business Intelligence guru Taylor Van Oosbree for providing copious amounts of data for this article.