MINNESOTA UNITED FC vs. LOS ANGELES GALAXY
TCF Bank Stadium | Minneapolis, Minnesota
10.21.2018 | MLS Week No. 34 | MLS Game No. 33
4:00 p.m. CT (ESPN, WatchESPN, MNUFC Radio on 1500 ESPN)
LA: 12-11-9, 4-7-5 on the road
MIN: 11-18-3, 10-5-1 at home
With their own playoff hopes now firmly out of reach, the Loons are free to focus on the next best thing: dashing someone else’s. On Sunday, October 21, Minnesota United will close out the home portion of its 2018 season and its two-year run at TCF Bank Stadium in front of an expected 50,000 fans as they face Carson’s own Los Angeles Galaxy. The Galaxy currently sit four points back of Real Salt Lake with one game left for RSL and two — including this one — for LA, so fans should expect the visitors to bring their “A” game to this historic event.
Kickoff is set for 4:00 p.m. with pregame coverage beginning at 3:30 p.m. on MNUFC Radio on 1500 ESPN. With tons of events and activities around this #50kToMidway game and more than double the usual numbers of fans expected, fans should plan to arrive early.
Even before MNUFC was eliminated from playoff contention, Head Coach Adrian Heath was focused not just on winning games but on evaluating the roster as the team prepares for their first season in Allianz Field next year. That evaluation process kicks into high gear now with two disappointing losses in the rearview mirror and two opportunities ahead for players to show they belong with the squad. That could start with stepping up against another playoff hopeful, although defender Michael Boxall insists the best way to do that is treat it as business as usual.
“The Galaxy has a decent squad and they are going to be very motivated,” he said. “No matter what is on the line, we want to win the game whether it is making the playoffs or stopping another one. It is just any other game and we want to win. That does not change this weekend.”
Something will have to change, though, following a tough loss to Philadelphia two weeks ago and an uncharacteristically flat performance at home against Colorado that ended with a 2-0 loss. Heath reflected on the mood in the locker room directly following the defeat last weekend.
“It was a bit somber because our home form has been terrific this year,” he said. “In the defeats we have had, I look back and I look at the performance against Dallas and we had 19 efforts at goal that day. We were progressive and we were the better team. This weekend we weren’t. The last two performances have not been good enough and we know that. That is something we have to work on and it is something that, between now and the end of the season, we will have a long hard think about what we want to do moving forward.”
In terms of the Galaxy, one of the main concerns is the multiple avenues of attack they present. While their defense has been less than stout and should open up opportunities for the likes of midfielder Darwin Quintero and forward Angelo Rodriguez, the Loons will have to contend with a many-headed hydra of attacking players led by Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Keeping the LA attack at bay will fall largely on the holding midfielders and a backline that will welcome the return of captain Francisco Calvo.
“I don’t think you can ever cancel out the big man,” said Boxall, alluding — presumably — to the 6-foot-2-inch Chris Pontius. “I think with them, if you shut down one they have three or four other threats. Obviously Alessandrini was lively against us in the first 20 minutes. They have the Dos Santos brothers and Kamara up top. It is not just one player you stop. They have other ways if you negate one player. We have to prepared all over the pitch.”
An opponent with the pedigree of the Galaxy — one of the founding MLS teams and the club with the most championships — is always a hot ticket, but fans this weekend will be turning out en masse to break a 42-year-old attendance record for a Minnesota soccer team. On August 25, 1976, a crowd of 49,572 fans turned out to support their Minnesota Kicks as they defeated the San Jose Earthquakes 3-1 to earn a trip to the NASL’s Soccer Bowl. And that was more than five years before Zlatan Ibrahimovic was even born.
“It is going to be one of those nights that before it actually happens you can’t imagine how it is going to be,” said Boxall. “I think it is going to be an unforgettable evening and we will do everything we can to make it unforgettable for the 50K that show up.”
Minnesota United next heads east to face Columbus Crew SC in its final game of the season on Sunday, October 28. That game kicks off at 3:30 p.m. CT with pregame coverage beginning at 3:00 p.m. on FOX Sports North, 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)
GK – Bobby Shuttleworth (back)
F – Romario Ibarra (right leg)
F – Abu Danladi (right leg)
F – Giovani dos Santos (undisclosed injury)
- This will be Minnesota United’s final home game at TCF Bank Stadium. It has played the last two seasons at the venue and will be moving to newly constructed Allianz Field in 2019.
- Rasmus Schuller has 210 tackles and interceptions this season. Only two other players in the league have more than 150.
- Darwin Quintero and Ángelo Rodríguez’s scoring streaks came to an end in the 2-0 defeat to Colorado Rapids on Saturday, October 13.
- Quintero is averaging 0.52 assists per game.
- Matt Lampson made his first start in goal since April 14 last week against Colorado.
- Eric Miller was named to the MLS Team of the Week for Week 33.
- MNUFC came back twice to draw LA Galaxy 2-2 in the last meeting between these two sides on August 12. Romario Ibarra scored his first MLS goal to clinch an away point in the 84th minute.
- Miguel Ibarra became the first MNUFC player to take the field 60 times for the club. He hit the milestone with his start against Colorado.
- Minnesota (411) and LA (401) have the fourth and fifth most fouls respectively in MLS.
- The Loons and Galaxy are among the most cautioned teams in MLS, with 70 and 69 yellow cards respectively (third and fourth highest totals).
- MNUFC is tied for the most ejections this year with seven.
- The Loons are the only team with just one penalty-kick goal this season.
- The Galaxy are tied for the highest scoring percentage in the league, with 15.3% of total shots ending up in the net.
- As a team, MNUFC has the most saves in MLS. Bobby Shuttleworth and Lampson have combined for 128 stops.
- MNUFC is 17-11-5 at TCF Bank Stadium since joining MLS
- This will be the Loons’ last home game on a turf playing surface.
- Quintero has the most goals, nine, at TCF Bank Stadium of any active MNUFC player. Miguel Ibarra has the second most with eight.
- MNUFC averages 1.8 goals per game at home.
- Marc Burch made three appearances for LA Galaxy during his first MLS season in 2006.
- Emmanuel Boateng and Abu Danladi both graduated from the Right to Dream Academy.
- LA Galaxy Interim Head Coach Dominic Kinnear played the 1999 and 2000 MLS seasons with MNUFC Sporting Director Manny Lagos on the Tampa Bay Mutiny.
- David Bingham and Sam Cronin played together for San Jose Earthquakes from 2011 through 2014.
- Perry Kitchen and Burch played the 2011 season with D.C. United. Collin Martin joined Kitchen at D.C. from 2013 until Kitchen left the club in 2015.
- Ola Kamara was a teammate of Ethan Finlay’s on Columbus Crew SC in 2016 and 2017.
- Brian Sylvestre and Michael Boxall both played for Vancouver Whitecaps FC in 2011 and 2012. Sylvestre also tended goal against Minnesota while playing for the Carolina RailHawks in 2015 and 2016 in the NASL.
- Servando Carrasco and Burch played for Seattle Sounders FC in 2012 and 2013. Carrasco then played with Kevin Molino and was coached by Adrian Heath on Orlando City SC from 2015 to 2016.
- Sheanon Williams and Collen Warner played the 2016 season together for the Houston Dynamo.