NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION vs. MINNESOTA UNITED FC
Gillette Stadium | Foxborough, Massachusetts
03.30.2019 | MLS Week No. 5 | MLS Game No. 4
1:00 p.m. CT (FOX Sports North+, FOX Sports GO, MNUFC Radio on SKOR North)
NE: 0-3-1, 0-2-0 at home
MIN: 2-1-0, 2-1-0 on the road
With the season’s first international break in the rearview mirror, Minnesota United is getting ready to embark on the second half of the five-game road trip that opens its season with a visit to the East Coast and the New England Revolution. After winning their first two games of the season and then dropping its third to the LA Galaxy two weeks ago, the Loons will be looking to start hot and take advantage of a Revolution side that’s had a disappointing opening to the season. MNUFC will, however, have to be careful not to fall into a trap that’s had a fire lit under it this week by Head Coach Brad Friedel after a dispirited home showing against expansion side FC Cincinnati last week.
The game kicks off at 1:00 p.m. CT at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough 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. Fans in the Twin Cities can head to Brit’s Pub in downtown Minneapolis for the Official Watch Party presented by Summit.
After beginning the season with the same starting lineup in its first three games, Minnesota United will likely make some adjustments this game. Midfielder Romario Ibarra was pressed into service as a forward and found success with a goal and an assist so far, but coming off a pair of games with the Ecuador national team, we may see forward Angelo Rodriguez returning to the starting XI. And with Rasmus Schuller out with a leg injury, it’s possible we might see the return of Ethan Finlay — who’s come off the bench so far this season — to the starting lineup.
Head Coach Adrian Heath has also gotten the chance to put in a little more tactical work with a team that’s still finding itself and hadn’t had a chance to really dig in with three West Coast games to start the season.
“We've managed to get plenty of work into the guys who've not been playing regularly,” said Heath. “We had a scrimmage against Madison on Friday, which everybody came through unscathed, which I was really pleased with. The guys who've been left behind — the Boxys and Ikes and Ozzies — we've managed to get plenty of work into them. With being on the road and leaving on Thursdays, we haven't had a chance to really work hard for a few days. It gives us an opportunity to get some work into one or two people.”
Getting that work in is a whole lot more enjoyable as the seasons turn in Minnesota, giving the team the chance to get out of the indoor facility at the National Sports Center in Blaine, Minnesota, and out onto the field where the team used to play in its NASL days in the NSC Stadium.
“It's good to get out here, fresh air, see some natural light,” said defender Michael Boxall. “It's been a while since we've had some natural vitamin D in Minnesota. You can kick the ball as high as you want, but apart from that, getting some cold, fresh air, you feel like you can run a bit longer. There's a lot more we can do tactically with full size fields and all that.”
For their part, the Revolution have struggled with more than just tactics. Friedel called out the team’s efforts at halftime against FC Cincinnati last week, saying that what he was seeing on the field was nothing that they had worked on during the week. Following a closed-door meeting earlier this week, the Revs will be looking for that collective spark to drive them forward with energy — an issue that Heath has gotten plenty familiar with over the past two seasons.
“I've been doing this a long time, so I know what's coming for them this week,” said Heath. “Brad [Friedel] wasn't happy and he questioned their commitment and their desire and obviously I know they're pros and they'll come in and be ready to work. I guarantee you they will work really hard Monday to Friday and they'll come out flying on Saturday and we have to be ready for that. There's no excuse, we know what's coming now. When the coach calls you out, invariably, players react.”
The major danger, then, for Minnesota United is failing to take New England seriously. Given the need to switch things up with the starting XI, it could be easy to slip into bad habits or not come out with intensity — a problem that befell the Loons against an LA Galaxy team that locked up possession and kept MNUFC from playing their game. But it’s part of the evolution of any team with playoff hopes: you might have a way you want to play the game, but when the other team takes that away, you have to find a different way.
“Despite our two road wins, we don't think that we can go anywhere and take home three points,” said Boxall. “We know, as shown in LA, if you don't show up, you can get turned over and we did in the first 30, 40 minutes. There's definitely no complacency heading into New England. They've got to bounce back at some point and we just have to be ready and make sure it's not against us.”
Minnesota United’s next game is against New York Red Bulls at Red Bull Arena on Saturday, April 6 at 6:00 p.m. with pregame coverage beginning at 5:30 p.m. on FOX Sports North+, streaming on FOX Sports GO, and on MNUFC Radio on SKOR North.
Minnesota United FC
- QUESTIONABLE: M - Kevin Molino (left knee injury)
- OUT: M – Rasmus Schuller (left leg injury)
- OUT: D – Chase Gasper (left hamstring injury)
New England Revolution
- OUT: M - Isaac Angking (left knee surgery 3/26, out 6-8 weeks)
- OUT: F - Justin Rennicks (hamstring injury 3/26, out 2-4 weeks)
- Bobby Shuttleworth was a goalkeeper for New England Revolution from 2009 though 2016. He led them to the MLS Cup Final in 2014.
- Cody Cropper is a native of Maple Grove, Minnesota.
- Teal Bunbury grew up in Prior Lake, Minnesota, and played for the Rochester Thunder, the Minnesota Thunder’s PDL affiliate, in 2009. He went to Shattuck-St. Mary’s in high school in Faribault, Minn. He also played with Ike Opara on Sporting Kansas City in 2013.
- Brad Knighton and Collin Martin both spent time on loan with the Richmond Kickers in 2015.
- Brandon Bye spent the 2017 season in Minnesota, playing for the NPSL’s Minneapolis City.
- Jalil Anibaba and Osvaldo Alonso played for Seattle Sounders FC in 2014. Anibaba then joined Opara on Sporting Kansas City in 2015.
- Jan Gregus scored his first MLS goal against LA Galaxy. It was his first time earning a point as a member of MNUFC.
- Angelo Rodriguez scored his first goal of 2019 last game. It was his first goal since October 21, 2018.
- Romain Metanire also earned his first point as an MNUFC player, assisting Gregus’ goal in the second half.
- Minnesota conceded its first penalty kick of the 2019 season against LA. There has been a penalty kick awarded in all three of the Loons’ games this season.
- Darwin Quintero is tied for the most assists in MLS with three. He was the league leader heading into the bye week.
- Quintero is the only player in MLS with multiple penalty kick goals during the 2019 season.
- New England has committed 66 fouls, the highest total in the league.
- Minnesota has only been offside once this season. The next lowest total in MLS is three.
- The Loons are one of three teams with multiple three-goal games this year.
- MNUFC has scored multiple goals in every game. Only Seattle
- Sounders FC and LAFC are the only other teams to have accomplished that feat this season.
- Minnesota is averaging 2.67 goals per game, while New England is averaging just 0.75.
- The Loons have scored on 19% of their shots, the third-highest percentage in the league.
- The Revs are the least accurate team in MLS, with just 25% of their shots ending up on target.
- New England is the only team with a save percentage below 50%. Its goalkeepers have stopped just 42.9% of shots on goal.
- Vito Mannone’s ten saves ties him for the fourth-highest total in MLS.
- Carles Gil scored his last goal in the Premier League for Aston Villa against Mannone, who was playing for Sunderland, on January 2, 2016. Mannone’s side would come away with a 3-1 win in that game.
- Quintero is the only Loons with both a game-winning goal and game-winning assist so far this year.
- This will be the Loons’ first game against an Eastern Conference team during the regular season.
- The Loons beat the Revs 1-0 in Orlando during preseason.