Minnesota United booked its way into the MLS is Back Tournament Quarterfinal in dramatic fashion Tuesday night, defeating the heretofore undefeated Columbus Crew in penalty kicks to stay unbeaten through six games across all competitions. On Saturday, the Loons will match up against a San Jose side that has registered great results in its last few games including a decisive Round of 16 victory over Real Salt Lake in which the Earthquakes scored five goals while conceding just twice. The game is scheduled to kick off on Saturday, August 1 at 7:00 p.m. CT and will be broadcast on ESPN2 and SKOR North locally.
Quarterfinal Matchup Details
Opponent: San Jose Earthquakes (2-1-2)
Date: Saturday, August 1
Time: 7:00 p.m. CT
Broadcast: ESPN2 & SKOR NORTH
San Jose started the season off with two draws and a loss, but have played the last three games to convincing results, bagging three wins out of three and logging 11 goals in the process. Matias Almeyda's unique, uptempo, high-risk style paid off against the Vancouver Whitecaps (2-3-0), Chicago Fire (1-3-1) and Real Salt Lake (1-1-3) in an unimpeded journey to the Quarterfinals, tiring teams out then bringing in MLS all-time leading scorer Chris Wondolowski and veteran Shea Salinas to finish them off. An exciting watch, no doubt, but if there is one knock on the surging side it would be a lack of results against teams toward the top of the standings, with two draws against Toronto FC (2-0-3) and the Seattle Sounders (2-1-2) early in the year and a shellacking to the Loons (3-0-2) in early March.
Minnesota United has taken some knocks this tournament, but its depth – which was touted at the beginning of the season by Head Coach Adrian Heath – is shining through. With Luis Amarilla, Kevin Molino, Osvaldo Alonso and Romain Metanire all nursing small injuries and Defender of the Year Ike Opara staying home, the Loons have managed to bag two wins and two draws in the MLS is Back Tournament against formidable opponents in one of the most difficult journeys to the Quarterfinals, including wins against the league-leading Columbus Crew (4-0-1) and Western Conference leading Sporting Kansas City (4-1-0). Camaraderie is high and the belief is evident on the pitch for the Loons, with every player front to back buying into the system to achieve results. Minnesota has found success by controlling the game defensively and countering quickly, holding opponents to just seven goals in 2020 while tallying 13 themselves – spread out among six different players.
At this point in the tournament, everyone will have their eyes firmly set on earning a spot in the final. Minnesota United has dominated this matchup in the recent past, with Adrian Heath's side outplaying Matias Almeyda's side in each of the last three matchups including a 5-2 Loons victory on March 7. In total, 31 goals have been scored in seven meetings between these two prolific scoring clubs.