ibarra dcunited 2017
Jordan Johnson

D.C. United vs. Minnesota United FC | 2018 MLS Match Preview

D.C. UNITED vs. MINNESOTA UNITED FC
Audi Field | Washington, D.C.
09.12.2018 | MLS Week No. 29 | MLS Game No. 27
6:30 p.m. CT (FOX Sports North, FOX Sports GO, MNUFC Radio on 1500 ESPN)

2018 Records:
DCU: 8-11-7, 7-2-1 at home
MIN: 9-15-2, 1-11-1 on the road

After a two-and-a-half-week break, a recuperated Minnesota United side resumes its five-game road trip, playing the first of two games in four days on Wednesday against a reinvigorated D.C. United team in the Loons’ first trip to MLS’ newest venue, Audi Field. The move to its new stadium has given life to DCU, which is 6-2-0 at home and has taken 20 points from 12 matches, overall, since the switch.

Minnesota and D.C. will match up in our nation’s capital Wednesday, September 12 at 6:30 p.m. CT at Audi Field. Pre-game coverage begins at 6:00 p.m. on FOX Sports North, streaming on FOX Sports GO and on MNUFC Radio on 1500 ESPN.

“They have been excellent in their little home stretch with the opening of their stadium,” Assistant Coach Mark Watson said. “They have a lot of energy in the group and in the arena. There is always a buzz and it is something we will have to be ready for. Once they moved into their stadium they have had a lot of good points. It is part of the overall atmosphere. There is a buzz and the players feed off it.”

It has been 18 days since MNUFC last took the field and it took that time to recover both mentally and physically. Head Coach Adrian Heath expects forward and leading scorer Darwin Quintero to be fully fit and available for selection after missing the last two games with an injury, and the break allowed summer signings forward Angelo Rodriguez and midfielder Fernando Bob to further assimilate into the team. Defender Marc Burch has also looked sharp in recent weeks as he battles back after undergoing knee surgery earlier this season.

“It has been a combination of giving guys a couple of days to get away from the game and relax but get a little bit of extra work in too,” Watson said. “It is just getting the group healthy again and getting them a little bit fitter. We are looking forward to two games in four days and we want to have good performance and good results.”

That time to get healthy may prove to be critical. The Loons’ depth will be tested against D.C. United, especially on the backline, with defenders Michael Boxall and Francisco Calvo unavailable due to suspension, midfielders Rasmus Schuller and Romario Ibarra on international duty and defender Eric Miller still recovering from an injury sustained in the team’s last game against Sporting Kansas City. With Boxall and Calvo out and Miller questionable, Minnesota’s back five will feature as many as three new faces. They will be tasked with slowing down a DCU attack that has scored 17 goals in eight home games since moving to Audi Field, including four three-plus goal outings.

Since arriving stateside in July, Rooney has caught fire in MLS with four goals and six assists in 12 appearances. In addition to the Englishman, Minnesota has to be cognizant of midfielder Luciano Acosta, who plays underneath Rooney in DCU’s 4-1-4-1 and leads the team with 10 assists. Overall, D.C.’s dynamic attack boasts a lot of movement, especially runs in behind from its wide midfielders, which MNUFC must be ready for.

“It is making sure we are passing off runners from the midfield,” defender Brent Kallman said. “If guys are running out of midfield we have to be passing them on. Rooney has been playing really well and we all know he is a great player. We have to make sure we are keyed in on him and not giving him too much space.”

After its trip to Audi Field, Minnesota United will get right back onto the horse with a trip west to face Real Salt Lake on Saturday, September 15. Kickoff is scheduled for 8:30 p.m. CT at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah. Pre-game coverage will begin at 8:00 p.m. on FOX Sports North Plus, streaming on FOX Sports Go and on MNUFC Radio on 1500 ESPN.

INJURY REPORT

Minnesota United FC
OUT:
M – Sam Cronin (cervicogenic dysfunction)
M – Ethan Finlay (right ACL tear – out for season)
M – Kevin Molino (left ACL tear – out for season)

QUESTIONABLE:
D – Francisco Calvo (right hamstring)

DISCIPLINARY REPORT:
D – Michael Boxall (Accumulation)
D – Francisco Calvo (Accumulation)

D.C. United
OUT:
GK – David Ousted (Elbow surgery)
D – Taylor Kemp (Hip surgery)
D – Chris Odoi-Atsem (Fatigue)
D – Vytas (Hip)
M – Nick DeLeon (Knee surgery)

QUESTIONABLE:
D – Frédéric Brillant (Hamstring)
M – Yamil Asad (Ankle)

FIRST TOUCHES

  • This is Minnesota United’s first trip to Washington D.C.
  • MNUFC has not played a game in the Eastern Time Zone since March 24 against the New York Red Bulls.
  • D.C. United opened its new stadium, Audi Field, on July 14 of this year. It spent the majority of the first half of the season on the road.
  • Romario Ibarra (Ecuador), Rasmus Schuller (Finland) and Francisco Calvo (Costa Rica) represented their national teams over the last week. Romario played two friendlies against Jamaica and Guatemala. Calvo traveled across the Pacific to play friendlies against South Korea and Japan. Schuller began UEFA Nations League play with home games against Hungary and Estonia.
  • Darwin Quintero is on a six-game point streak. He has missed the last two games due to injury.
  • D.C. has found the back of the net once while playing MNUFC: an own goal in the middle of a 4-0 loss last season at TCF Bank Stadium.
  • Minnesota’s 4-0 result over D.C. last year is tied for the largest margin of victory in the team’s MLS history. It matched that margin with a 5-1 win over LAFC on July 22.
  • Three of Minnesota’s four shots on goal against D.C. have wound up in the back of the net.
  • Bobby Shuttleworth made five saves in the last meeting with D.C. en route to his third career shutout against them. He has a 3-3-3 career record and has made 18 saves while playing against D.C.
  • Matt Lampson has played well against D.C. in his career. He has a 2-0-1 lifetime record with two clean sheets and just one goal conceded.
  • D.C. United is among the most successful clubs in MLS history. Its four MLS titles are the second-most in the league behind LA Galaxy’s five. The red-and-black have appeared in five MLS Cup Finals, tied with New England Revolution for the second-most behind the Galaxy’s nine. D.C. has not appeared in a final since 2004.
  • D.C. is one of two American teams to win a confederation title, winning the CONCACAF Cup in 1998.
  • MNUFC has just eight games remaining in the 2018 season, evenly split with four on the road and four at home.
  • Including this game, three of the Loons’ final four road matches will be played against Eastern Conference teams.
  • MNUFC is 5-2-0 against the East this season and 10-8-1 all-time.
  • This will be Minnesota’s final midweek game of the regular season.
  • Minnesota Director of Player Personnel Amos Magee was on the D.C. United coaching staff from 2014 to 2016.
  • Minnesota midfielder Collin Martin was traded to Minnesota in exchange for a 2018 SuperDraft pick.
  • Loons Assistant Coach Mark Watson played 11 matches for D.C. United during the 2001 season.
  • Marc Burch played for D.C. from 2007 to 2011.
  • Steve Birnbaum and Miguel Ibarra played for Orange County Blue Star in 2011.
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