Preview | #FCDvMIN

Preview | #FCDvMIN

FC DALLAS vs. MINNESOTA UNITED
Toyota Stadium | Frisco, Texas
08.29.2020 | MLS Week No. 7 | MLS Game No. 7
7:30 p.m. CT (FOX Sports North+, FOX Sports GO, MNUFC Radio on SKOR North)

2020 Records:
FCD: 1-1-3 (1-1-2 at home)
MIN: 3-1-2 (3-0-1 on the road)

Minnesota United will look to rebound from its first loss of the 2020 season after falling 2-1 to Sporting Kansas City in the Loons’ home opener at Allianz Field last week. Despite the empty stands, the two teams battled back and forth with grit and bite with the home side ultimately undone by an unfortunate own goal. Now the Loons travel south to Frisco, Texas, to face FC Dallas, whose season got off to a strong start before getting derailed when they were forced to withdraw from the MLS Is Back Tournament due to positive COVID-19 tests. MNUFC has had to weather a storm of injuries, with defender Ike Opara still unavailable and goalkeeper lost for the season following successful hip surgery. But as always in soccer, it’s “next man up” as Minnesota begins a stretch of games that will see them play five games in just 16 days through the rest of Phase I.

THE OPPOSITION
After opening the season with a win and a draw that saw them netting four goals, FC Dallas has struggled since getting back to action against Nashville on August 12. In their last three games, Dallas has two draws and a loss, but zero goals to show for it. With rumors about Reggie Cannon’s possible departure swirling, Dallas needs offseason acquisition Franco Jarads to step and provide goals and consistency alongside stalwart contributors like Paxton Pomykal and Michael Barrios. Against Houston, Dallas deployed a three-man backline with wingbacks, surrendering the bulk of possession to the opponent. A similar tactic worked to Sporting KC’s advantage last week when MNUFC struggled to be creative with more of the ball, so keep an eye out for which team jumps out on the front foot to start the game.

ETHAN FINLAY ON TRAVELING IN PHASE I

“I’ve talked to some other guys around the league who have done it and I talked to a couple of the Kansas City guys after the game, asked them how it was, what they thought, what could be done better, what should we be thinking about. It’s going to be a challenge, absolutely, but this group has faced a lot of challenges. I thought we did extremely well when we were down in Orlando, which is probably one of the toughest challenges we’ve had to deal with, being away from family and friends, being in a bubble. I think we’re ready for it. I know the sports science people are doing everything they can to make sure our bodies are mentally and physically prepared. We’ll be ready to go once it’s game time.”
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ADRIAN HEATH ON PLAYING ON THE ROAD

“If you look at them, traditionally they’re very, very good at home. Obviously, this time of year the weather is going to be extremely hot, we know that. They’ve got pace in wide areas and a little bit of guile in the middle of the park and they’ve got quality players. Since they’ve come back it’s been two draws and a loss I think, so it’s not been ideal for them. That will make them even more determined to actually make sure they get on that winning trail. We know it’ll be tough, it always is in Dallas. I think Luchi [Gonzalez] has done a great job. They’ve got some great young players. We’ll have to play better than we did against Kansas to win the game.”

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STORYLINE
Minnesota United had one of its most dramatic wins last year against FC Dallas when the Texas team came to visit Allianz Field. A dramatic stoppage time goal by Mason Toye to put the Loons on top was almost immediately overshadowed by an even more dramatic penalty save by Vito Mannone at the death to seal the win. Minnesota and Dallas were close in the standings at the time, but the signature win pushed the Loons to greater heights while Dallas eventually slotted into the final playoff spot, only to be knocked out by eventual champs the Seattle Sounders in the first round. A win for Dallas could be the emotional lift the team needs to start turning around their season around as they fight to get out of second-to-last place in the Western Conference.

FIRST TOUCHES
FC Dallas has not scored a goal in 270 minutes of play. It is the sixth-longest goal drought this year, and the second-longest currently active streak behind Vancouver’s 289 minutes.

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SOUND OF THE LOONS: HARRY POTTER AND THE CORRIDOR OF UNCERTAINTY

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