Romain vs. Boateng

Minnesota United FC vs. LA Galaxy | 2019 MLS Match Preview

MINNESOTA UNITED FC vs. LA GALAXY
Allianz Field | Saint Paul, Minnesota
04.24.2019 | MLS Week No. 8 | MLS Game No. 7
7:00 p.m. CT (FOX Sports North+, FOX Sports GO, MNUFC Radio on SKOR North)

2019 Records:
LA: 6-1-0, 1-1-0 at home
MIN: 3-3-1, 0-0-1 on the road

Just days after suffering a stinging rebuke at the hands of Toronto FC in a game in which Minnesota United captured the lead twice, it was back to work for the Loons as they prepare to host the visiting Los Angeles Galaxy for their second home game at Allianz Field. Following a late-game breakdown and a red card apiece for midfielder Jan Gregus and defender and captain Francisco Calvo, the team will have to make adjustments without several key players in their first game of the week. For their part, the Galaxy are on a hot streak, having won five straight since downing MNUFC in Week 3 in Carson.

The Loons’ first midweek game of the season kicks off at 7:00 p.m. CT on Wednesday, April 24 with pregame coverage beginning at 6:30 p.m. on FOX Sports North+, streaming on FOX Sports GO and on MNUFC Radio on SKOR North.

Despite the most recent result against Toronto, Head Coach Adrian Heath was sanguine following Monday’s training about the state of the team overall at this point in the season.

“Awful lot of positives,” he said when asked about his assessment of the game. “Disappointed with one or two of the goals — individual errors are costing us. I don't think it's a collective thing, I don't think it's the back four in the wrong shape. It seems to be every game, one individual error costs us a goal. We've certainly got to eradicate that because we've scored six goals in the last two games and we've got one point. That tells its own story. But there was an awful lot of positives out of the game on Friday night. A team that will probably finish in and around the top of the East, and for large portions of the game, I thought second half we dominated the game, virtually. Great passages of play, looked composed, good combination play and looked dangerous. The plus side is we do look dangerous every time we go forward, we do look as though we've got goals in us at the moment.”

For defender Brent Kallman, who started in place of the injured Ike Opara, the breakdowns that let the Reds back in the game late on the back of a brace by sub Jordan Hamilton were the result of a loss of focus at key moments.

“It's just mental toughness, individually and as a group, too,” he said. “Especially when you get tired, legs are going, you've got to try to tune in even further. And also we've got to hold each other accountable and make sure everyone's doing their job and if they're not, you've got to get on them and get them on the same page. We've got to learn from it. Especially in a situation like that, we should learn from it and we should try our best to turn it into a positive going forward.”

When Minnesota faced the Galaxy on their home turf in the third week of the season, the home side pressed high and kept the Loons from getting comfortable in possession, then overwhelmed Osvaldo Alonso and Jan Gregus in the midfield with three midfielders who pinged the ball about with disconcerting alacrity. That, however, was a Galaxy squad lacking Brobdingnagian striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who at 6 feet 5 inches commands a lot of attention but whose presence can also lead to a more stagnant offense.

“You try and keep him out of the box as much as you can,” said Heath of the big Swede. “Stop the service into him as best you can, but once it gets into him, you've got to make sure you get bodies around him because he's a big old body and a big old unit and he can turn people, scores all types of goals, whether they be headers, side-footers. You don't score 500 goals in your career if you're not pretty good.”

And while he may not be a playmaker at heart, Ibrahimovic is fond of dropping deep on occasion to receive the ball. Mark him too closely when he does that and the Galaxy have a host of aggressive, energetic options looking to get in behind. Add to that offensive threat a defense that has only allowed seven goals so far this year behind offseason addition Diego Polenta and the second-place Galaxy are looking like a legitimate threat in the Western Conference. It will be, without a doubt, a tough night for the Loons, but don’t count them out.

“We owe them one,” said Kallman, referring back to the Week 3 defeat. “We didn't play well in that game and we know it. We want to try to improve on that performance. They present a lot of challenges, but at home, with our crowd, I think we've got a good chance.”

There’s no rest for the weary as Minnesota United suit up again on Sunday to face Wayne Rooney and D.C. United at Allianz Field in a matinee that kicks off at 12:30 p.m. CT. Pregame coverage begins at 12:00 p.m. on FS1, streaming on the FOX Sports GO app and on MNUFC Radio on SKOR North.

INJURY REPORT

Minnesota United FC

  • QUESTIONABLE: D – Ike Opara (facial injury)
  • QUESTIONABLE: D – Chase Gasper (hamstring)

Los Angeles Galaxy

  • OUT: M – Perry Kitchen (foot injury)
  • OUT: D – Rolf Feltscher (groin injury)
  • M – Romain Alessandrini (knee injury)

FIRST TOUCHES

  • 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 the 1999 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.
  • This is the first midweek game of the season for MNUFC.
  • This is the Loons’ second meeting of the year with the Galaxy and will be the first completed series with a Western Conference opponent in 2019.
  • The previous meeting between the teams on March 16 was the last time MNUFC played a team from the Western Conference.
  • This game kicks off a three-game homestand for Minnesota.
  • Jan Gregus scored his first MLS goal against the Galaxy on March 16.
  • Gregus and Francisco Calvo are suspended for this game after receiving red cards last game against Toronto FC.
  • Calvo is the first MNUFC player to be ejected twice in their career with the club since joining MLS.
  • Three Minnesota players are currently on point streaks: Angelo Rodriguez (2G/1A in three games), Osvaldo Alonso (1G/1A in two games) and Jan Gregus (2A in two games).
  • LA is currently on a five-game winning streak that started with the win against Minnesota on March 16.
  • The Galaxy have conceded just once in their last three games.
  • Darwin Quintero scored his first goal during the run of play last week against Toronto. He has five goals on the year, four coming from penalty kicks, tying him for fourth-most in MLS.
  • Both Quintero and Zlatan Ibrahimovic have scored four times from the penalty spot in 2019, tying them for the league lead.
  • Quintero had his first multi-goal game on the season against Toronto.
  • Ibrahimovic currently has the second-most goals in the league with seven, just three behind crosstown rival Carlos Vela on LAFC.
  • Ibrahimovic leads the league with three game-winning goals.
  • The Loons’ 17 goals is the third-most in MLS.
  • Minnesota has scored in nine consecutive games.
  • MNUFC has the third-highest goals per game average at 2.43.
  • The Galaxy are the third-least fouled team in MLS, having suffered just 70 fouls through seven games.
  • Both teams have had six multi-goal games.
  • LA was Minnesota’s last opponent at TCF Bank Stadium before making the move to Allianz Field this season.
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