MINNESOTA UNITED FC vs. NEW YORK CITY FC
TCF Bank Stadium | Minneapolis, Minnesota
09.29.2018 | MLS Week No. 31 | MLS Game No. 30
7:00 p.m. CT (FOX Sports North Plus, FOX Sports GO, MNUFC Radio on 1500 ESPN)
NYC: 15-8-8, 4-7-4 on the road
MIN: 10-16-3, 9-4-1 at home
Minnesota United heads into the season’s homestretch on an upswing, having notched a comeback draw on the road against Real Salt Lake and a hard-fought win at home against the Portland Timbers last week. This Saturday, September 29, the Loons square off against a New York City FC squad playing its second game of the week, having locked in a playoff spot following a 2-0 win over the Chicago Fire. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. CT at TCF Bank Stadium with pre-game coverage beginning at 6:30 p.m. on FOX Sports North Plus, streaming on FOX Sports GO and MNUFC Radio on 1500 ESPN.
“Winning games always gives everybody that extra bit of confidence,” said Head Coach Adrian Heath. “Certainly coming back home has helped. I thought the crowd was magnificent at the weekend. They really got behind us and I thought our first half performance warranted the support that we got. I thought for 45 minutes we were excellent at the weekend — some great attacking play and great combination play.”
After a three-goal opening stanza, the second half of that game saw the Timbers come roaring back, largely spurred by the insertion of holding midfielder Diego Chara. Tasked with containing diminutive dynamo Darwin Quintero, Chara kept the Loons from ringing up any more goals, but Heath felt Quintero was still effective.
“Romario made good forward runs and Miguel Ibarra running off of the back shoulder,” said Heath. “I thought there was some really good stuff. It does not surprise me. Every week now, [Quintero] brings something to this group. If we can get him enough ball, that will be the same this weekend because he is a super talent.”
MNUFC will need Quintero to be on his game since the squad will be missing both Fernando Bob (who will be serving a red card suspension) and Maximiano (who will be serving a suspension for yellow card accumulation). The pair of Brazilians have shown off a solid and growing chemistry in the midfield, with Fernando Bob earning an assist on a lofted through ball to Quintero that ended in a Romario Ibarra goal. Heath will likely have to look to experienced players including Collen Warner, Rasmus Schuller (who’s been playing recently higher up the pitch) and Ibson to shore up the middle third. And although there’s some hope for rotation on NYCFC’s side following their midweek tilt, Heath knows it will still be a stiff challenge.
“Regardless of who they put out, they will play football the way it was meant to be played,” said Heath. “They will try to move it through the thirds and they move the ball very quickly. They will try to get overloads in certain parts of the field and make it difficult for us. That is what you expect at this time of the season against a team that has firmly been cemented in the playoffs nearly all year.”
Following the game against NYCFC, the Loons will hit the road for the second-to-last time this regular season to face Philadelphia Union in the City of Brothery Love. That game kicks off on Saturday, October 6 at 6:30 p.m. CT with pre-game coverage beginning at 6:00 p.m. on FOX Sports North Plus, streaming on FOX Sports GO and on MNUFC Radio on 1500 ESPN.
Minnesota United FC
M – Sam Cronin (cervicogenic dysfunction)
M – Ethan Finlay (right ACL tear – out for season)
M – Kevin Molino (left ACL tear – out for season)
M – Collin Martin (right ankle)
F – Abu Danladi (right leg)
D – Romario Ibarra (right leg)
D – Cedric Hountondji (hamstring injury)
M – Yangel Herrera (ankle injury – out for season)
- Rasmus Schuller and Alexander Ring are both members of the Finland national team and played together on HJK in 2012 and 2013.
- Miguel Ibarra and Maxi Moralez played for Club Leon in 2016.
- Francisco Calvo, Ronald Matarrita and Rodney Wallace are members of the Costa Rica national team.
- Matt Lampson and Sean Johnson tended goal for Chicago Fire in 2016.
- Sam Cronin and Johnson are natives of Georgia.
- Lampson, Ethan Finlay, Ben Sweat and Brad Stuver were teammates on Columbus Crew SC in 2014. Lampson, Finlay and Stuver were on the Crew SC roster through 2015 (and later for the latter two).
- Alexi Gómez and Alexander Callens both played for the Peru national team in World Cup Qualifying games.
- Collen Warner and Sebastian Ibeagha were both in the Houston Dynamo organization in 2016.
- Carter Manley and Ibeagha both played for Duke University in college.
- Eric Miller made his 100th regular season MLS appearance in the 3-2 victory over Portland Timbers on Saturday, September 22.
- Romario Ibarra (two goals) and Darwin Quintero (two assists) featured in the MLS Team of the Week for Week 30.
- Romario (two goals vs. POR) became the first player to score multiple goals in a game for MNUFC since July 22.
- Quintero assisted both of Romario’s goals, the 10th multi-assist game in Minnesota’s MLS history. Quintero now has 12 assists, which sets a new club career record.
- Michael Boxall scored his second goal of the year and the first game-winning goal of his career vs. Portland.
- Miguel Ibarra has now made 57 MLS appearances for MNUFC, taking sole possession of the club’s career appearance record.
- Ibarra (10G/11A) and Quintero (10G/12A) are the two MNUFC players with double-digit goals and assists in their careers with the club in MLS.
- MNUFC earned its 10th win of the season last weekend, equaling last season’s total with five games remaining.
- MNUFC put 10 shots on goal vs. Portland. It was the first time it reached that total since July 22.
- NYCFC plays two matches this week. This is the second week in a row in which the Loons face a team playing a double-game week.
- MNUFC will be without Maximiano and Fernando Bob this game due to suspension. Maximiano reached his yellow-card limit, while Fernando Bob was ejected in the 89th minute of the Loons’ game vs. Portland.
- The Loons have scored at least one goal in six consecutive home games. They are 5-1-0 in that stretch with 18 goals for and 11 against.
- Three of Minnesota’s final five games are at home. MNUFC has a 9-4-1 record at home, taking 28 of its 33 points at TCF Bank Stadium.
- MNUFC is 5-3-0 against Eastern Conference opponents this year.
- NYCFC is 6-3-2 against Western Conference teams and 2-3-1 while on the road.
- Francisco Calvo will make his 50th MLS appearance next time he plays for MNUFC.
- Bobby Shuttleworth will have 190 total MLS appearances next time he takes the field.