For their roles in Minnesota United’s penalty shootout victory over Columbus Crew SC in the Round of 16 of the MLS Is Back Tournament, midfielder Osvaldo Alonso and Head Coach Adrian Heath have been named to the MLS Team of the Week, presented by Audi, with midfielder Hassani Dotson making an appearance on the bench. Alonso and Dotson played key roles in Heath’s scheme to frustrate a Columbus team that had won all three games of its Group Stage while conceding zero goals.
Alonso has made one other appearance in the Team of the Week during the MLS Is Back Tournament, slotting in after the Loons’ scoreless draw against Real Salt Lake. Minnesota’s captain refused to let himself be drawn out of position by Columbus’ passing and locked down Zone 14 at the top of the box, making it very difficult for the Crew to play through the midfield and into the spaces between the lines. He also stepped up and set the tone in the penalty shootout by confidently burying the first PK for MNUFC.
Lacking his go-to playmaker in Kevin Molino due to injury, Heath made adjustments to his adjustments, shifting the 4-3-3 with two #8s he put out against Colorado to a 4-3-3 with a false #10 for the game against Columbus. The team stayed disciplined and held its shape, limiting the Crew’s shots on goal and scoring on them for the first time in the tournament. Heath was last featured on the Team of the Week in Week 30 of 2019 after Minnesota United became the first team to defeat LAFC at home in the regular season.
Working in a false #10 position slightly ahead of Jan Gregus, Dotson put pressure on Columbus’ defense while also dropping back to make life difficult for the Crew’s midfielders, in particular doing much to shut down Darlington Nagbe. This is Dotson’s first appearance on the Team of the Week since 2019 when he featured in Weeks 20 and 30, also on the bench.
See the full MLS Team of the Week for the Round of 16 below:
F: Valentin Castellanos (NYCFC), Diego Rossi (LAFC)
M: Vako (SJ), Eduard Atuesta (LAFC), Osvaldo Alonso (MIN), Maxi Moralez (NYCFC), Cristian Espinoza (SJ)
D: Kai Wagner (PHI), Mark Mckenzie (HOU), Alexander Callens (NYCFC)
GK: Thomas Hasal (VAN)
Coach: Adrian Heath (MIN)
Bench: Tim Melia (SKC), Latif Blessing (LAFC), Jhegson Mendez (ORL), Hassani Dotson (MIN), Magnus Eriksson (SJ), Brian Rodriguez (LAFC), Sebastian Blanco (POR)