The MLS is back this weekend, with MNUFC hitting the road to take on Vancouver Whitecaps FC this Saturday at 5:00 p.m. The team has put in a lot of hard work the preseason, with several new additions, as it prepares to open its new home at Allianz Field. Get caught up with all the results from an eventful preseason schedule that saw the Loons go undefeated heading into Saturday’s opener.
January 29: MNUFC 9-2 FC Tucson
The Loons kicked off their preseason schedule against USL League Two side FC Tucson as part of the Mobile Mini Sun Cup. The tournament hosts stunned MNUFC with an early goal, but Minnesota came alive with a flurry of goals. Rasmus Schuller netted a pair of goals to give his team the lead heading into the break before a wholesale change brought on fresh legs. A seven-goal rally propelled the Loons to victory, highlighted by a hat trick from trialist Jiro Toyama and braces from Romario Ibarra and Mason Toye.
February 2: MNUFC 0-0 Phoenix Rising FC
The second game of the cup saw MNUFC raise the level of competition, taking on Phoenix Rising FC of the USL Championship. Lots of early chances gave the Loons momentum, highlighted by an attempted chip by Darwin Quintero and a sliding chance by Schuller. However, neither side could break the deadlock and the game would end goalless, but not without some heroic goalkeeping on both sides.
February 6: MNUFC 0-0 Houston Dynamo
The Loons concluded their time in Tucson against MLS opponent Houston Dynamo, who were preparing for upcoming games in the CONCACAF Champions League. The reigning U.S. Open Cup champions played four 30-minute quarters against MNUFC in order to have more players get some minutes in ahead of the season. The game was physical from the opening kick, with lots of cards distributed by the official, including a red card for Francisco Calvo. The Loons held their own against a seasoned Dynamo squad and were able to keep the clean sheet once again.
February 16: MNUFC 1-0 New England Revolution
After a brief stop back home, the team headed east to Orlando to face some more MLS opposition in the Orlando City Invitational. It was a cagey game for the Loons, who were getting chances but unable to get the quality shots to beat the Revs’ goalkeeper. Finally, in the second half, Miguel Ibarra got MNUFC on the board by touching the ball past the goalkeeper and slotting home the eventual gamewinner. Vito Mannone and Bobby Shuttleworth combined to keep the third-consecutive clean sheet of the preseason.
February 17: MNUFC 1-0 FIU (Scrimmage)
In order to get the a few of the non-starters from the New England game more minutes, the coaching staff set up a scrimmage against local college side Florida International University. Dayne St. Clair stood tall in the 80-minute scrimmage, stopping an early penalty to preserve the clean sheet streak. Mason Toye would score the lone goal of the game, dribbling past the goalkeeper and chipping the ball over a sliding defender to keep the unbeaten run going.
February 20: MNUFC 1-0 NYCFC
The Loons concluded their preseason slate against NYCFC, and once again would look to the midfield to for its scoring chances. Ibarra was able to get MNUFC up early, settling a long cross and drilling a shot towards the far post that snuck through the defense and into the back of the net. The busy schedule began to take its toll on the squad, with missed chances nearly coming back to haunt the Loons. The squad was able to hold on and now head into the regular season undefeated.
*MNUFC also held a closed-door scrimmage with Orlando City on February 23. Details for the game were not released.