LOS ANGELES GALAXY vs. MINNESOTA UNITED FC
Dignity Health Sports Park | Carson, California
03.16.2019 | MLS Week No. 3 | MLS Game No. 3
9:30 p.m. CT (FOX Sports North+, FOX Sports GO, MNUFC Radio on SKOR North)
LA: 1-1-0, 1-0-0 at home
MIN: 2-0-0, 2-0-0 on the road
Fresh off a tilt against San Jose that saw the Loons exact a measure of revenge against a Quakes squad that had previously handed MNUFC four losses in four games, the fellas head back to the West Coast this week to face the Los Angeles Galaxy. The Galaxy are coping with some injuries to important players including forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic and midfielder Romain Alessandrini, opening up an opportunity for the Loons to build on their 2-0-0 record as they hit the midway point of their season-opening road trip.
The game kicks off at 9:30 p.m. with pregame coverage beginning at 9:00 p.m. on FOX Sports North+, streaming on FOX Sports GO and on MNUFC Radio on SKOR North.
Against the San Jose, Minnesota cleaned up some of the issues that led them to concede two goals off set pieces against Vancouver in Week One. In the end, they but the Quakes into bad spots, earning a penalty off a handball and an own goal off a free kick to go with a goal from midfielder Miguel Ibarra to ring up a 3-0 win.
“The result is the big thing but we look at the performance as well and [there were] a lot of positives,” said Assistant Coach Mark Watson. “We had a pretty good game plan against them. They did things a little differently with a man-marking system so we were prepared for that and I thought our guys handled it well. Could have been up a couple goals in the first half, but maintained our discipline, our composure and I thought we got our just reward in the end.”
If anything, it could have been an even better outing for Minnesota United. They went into the half even at 0-0 and while they found a way to manufacture goals in the second half, they could have been up big if San Jose goalkeeper Daniel Vega hadn’t turned away several excellent chances early.
“We knew that at the half it could have been 4-0,” said Ibarra. “We had opportunities we didn't finish, so our mentality was to keep doing what we're doing and the chances are going to go in. Just make sure we keep the shape and that's what we did the second half. We put away the chances we had and kept the clean sheet.”
In addition to the clean sheet, Minnesota doubled their point total from road games in all of 2018 with the win over the Quakes, plus earned back-to-back road wins for the first time in the club’s MLS history. It will get no easier against a Galaxy team that nearly clawed its way into the playoffs at the tail end of last year, although their struggles against FC Dallas in a 2-0 loss last week without fearsome striker Ibrahimovic give reason for hope.
“We've looked at both their games,” said Watson of the Galaxy. “They've been different in both games. First one, Zlatan played, the second one, he didn't. There's been a couple other changes, adding [Sebastian] Lletget and [Joe] Corona, so we've looked at both games in terms of what we think they're going to do Saturday. They'll be competitive, they're fit, they're going to be tough at home — they always are. But when there's so many variables and unknowns, we've been focusing on ourselves. With a little bit of tweak as they do this or that, we want to put in a good performance with the way we play.”
Putting in that good performance becomes a little easier with confidence, and that comes with success. With two wins already in the bag, it’s about maintaining and building momentum. That’s not to say that there aren’t things to tighten up and improve, but it’s much more about getting mentally dialed in.
“I think the mentality is there,” said midfielder Osvaldo Alonso. “We know we’re starting off with five games on the road, and while we’ve won our first two, we know this team has the mentality that we can win. You saw it in our 3-0 victory against San Jose. It’s another challenge in Los Angeles, but we know with our current mentality, with the team and talent we have, we can go there and come out with another three points like we did in San Jose.”
“Right now, our confidence is high,” said Ibarra. “Even at practice you can feel it so now we've just got to continue to do it. Everybody's enjoying the game right now, just playing for each other.”
Minnesota United’s next game has them heading east for the first time this season to face the New England Revolution. That game kicks off at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, March 30 with pregame coverage beginning at 12:30 p.m. on FOX Sports North+, streaming on FOX Sports GO and on MNUFC Radio on SKOR North.
Minnesota United FC
- OUT: M - Kevin Molino (left knee injury)
Los Angeles Galaxy
- OUT: M - Perry Kitchen (ankle injury)
- OUT: M - Juninho (knee injury)
- F - Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Achilles injury)
- M - Romain Alessandrini (right hamstring injury)
- Matt Lampson played for MNUFC in 2018. He made nine appearances for the Loons and won the MLS Humanitarian of the Year Award. Lampson and Ethan Finlay were teammates on Columbus Crew SC from 2012 through 2015.
- Emmanuel Boateng and Abu Danladi both graduated from the Right to Dream Academy.
- LA Galaxy Assistant Coach Dominic Kinnear played the1999 and 2000 MLS seasons with MNUFC Sporting Director Manny Lagos on the Tampa Bay Mutiny.
- Perry Kitchen, Chris Pontius and Collin Martin played for D.C. United from 2013 until 2015.
- Servando Carrasco played with Osvaldo Alonso with Seattle Sounders FC from 2011 to 2013. He also played with Ike Opara on Sporting Kansas City in 2015. He then joined Kevin Molino and was coached by Adrian Heath on Orlando City SC from 2015 to 2016.
- David Bingham and Opara were teammates with the San Jose Earthquakes in 2011 and 2012.
- Daniel Steres and Alonso played together for Seattle Sounders FC in 2012.
- Uriel Antuna was in the Santos Laguna academy while Darwin Quintero played for the first team from 2012 through 2013.
- Diedie Traore was a part of the FC Metz academy while Romain Metanire played for the first team in 2016.
- Darwin Quintero scored Minnesota United’s 100th goal in MLS last week. He converted his second penalty kick of the year to reach the century mark.
- Quintero currently leads the league with three assists on the year.
- Miguel Ibarra scored his first goal of the year last week in San Jose. He was assisted by Quintero.
- Romario Ibarra is tied for the second-most shots on goal with four in 2019.
- Jan Gregus, Romario and Quintero all took three shots against San Jose. Romario and Quintero both had two end up on target.
- The Loons made 33 clearances against the Earthquakes, triple the amount of their opponents.
- Vito Mannone kept his first clean sheet as a member of MNUFC.
- The Loons’ 3-0 win over San Jose last game was the first time the team has kept a clean sheet on the road.
- This is the first time MNUFC has won consecutive road games in MLS.
- Quintero, Romain Metanire and Osvaldo Alonso were all named to the MLS Team of the Week for Week 2. Quintero has made back-to-back appearances.
- Minnesota is tied with Seattle and LAFC for the most goals in MLS, with six so far this year.
- LA is tied for the second most yellow cards with six through two games.
- Minnesota has been caught offside just once this season, tied for the lowest total in the league.
- The Loons are the only team to have scored three goals in both of their games so far this season. They are among just three teams to score multiple goals in both games as well.
- MNUFC leads the league with two penalty kick goals.
- Minnesota has a 22.2% scoring percentage, the second best in MLS.
- The Loons picked up a point in their last trip to Carson. Romario scored a tying goal late in the game to secure a 2-2 draw.
- MNUFC has yet to beat the Galaxy since joining MLS.
- This is Minnesota’s third-consecutive road game against a Western Conference team.