MINNESOTA UNITED vs. FC DALLAS
Allianz Field | Saint Paul, Minnesota
09.09.2020 | MLS Week No. 11 | MLS Game No. 10
7:00 p.m. CT (FOX Sports North, FOX Sports GO, MNUFC Radio on SKOR North)
FCD: 2-1-4 (0-0-2 on the road)
MIN: 4-3-2 (1-1-0 at home)
Minnesota United’s big 4-0 win over Real Salt Lake at Allianz Field — just their second game at home this season — was a classic “get right” game. After struggling to generate much in the way of offense and allowing breakdowns in the midfield that led to too many shots on goal against FC Dallas and Houston, the Loons found their groove once again in the second half, putting in a goal just about every 10 minutes to send the Claret-and-Cobalt packing. With new DP Emanuel Reynoso starting and second-year net minder Dayne St. Clair stepping in between the sticks, Minnesota United is banking on some youth and new blood to spark an upward trend against a Dallas side that beat them up in Frisco less than two weeks ago. With forward Luis Amarilla and midfielder Ethan Finlay — and possibly midfielder Osvaldo Alonso — joining the ranks of the long-term injured, there will be plenty of opportunities for players like Mason Toye and Hassani Dotson to pick up the torch and make their case for staying in the starting XI as MNUFC passes the halfway point of a very weird season with its eyes focused on playoff success.
Since defeating Minnesota 3-1 at home, FC Dallas has gone on the road and eked out a draw with Sporting Kansas City at Children’s Mercy Park. Marquee signing Franco Jara got his first MLS goal in that game and Luchi Gonzalez continued his trend of tweaking the formation for the opponent, shifting from the 4-3-3 he used against the Loons to a 4-2-3-1. Dallas’ Fafa Picault was a major headache for MNUFC the last time out, opening the scoring and just generally running roughshod all over the defense. Picault, however, is now out with a hamstring injury and starting goalkeeper Jimmy Maurer joined him in the second half of the team’s 1-1 draw at SKC. Head Coach Adrian Heath will be hoping that the edge and bite the defenders and midfield found against Real Salt Lake — winning 68 duels and nine tackles to go with eight interceptions — will provide a foundation against an FC Dallas side on an upward swing following a disappointing restart to the season after they were forced to withdraw from the MLS Is Back Tournament.
JOSE AJA ON EARNING THE CLEAN SHEET
“The team, in this last match, did a great job. We needed to win, especially at home, we had to be strong. It was important to keep the shut-out. To not allow goals, for us, is super important because we know we could score a goal at any moment. That was fundamental in the game, stay calm and in the second half, we found the goals and we were able to get the win which was very important for us.”
ADRIAN HEATH ON THE DEBUTS OF REYNOSO AND ST. CLAIR
“Not surprised because we know what we’ve got. You don’t have the career that [Reynoso] has had, played for the team’s that he’s played if you’ve not got quality. It’s early days for him, he’s got to get to know his teammates a lot more, his teammates have got to realize what he can and can’t do – his range of passing, the fact that he can find them little holes in between. That’s going to happen. And Dayne, it didn’t surprise me. We know we’ve got a quality young goalkeeper. If he keeps listening and learning, listens to Stewart [Kerr], the goalkeeping coach, we feel as though we’ve got a really good goalkeeper on our hands.”MORE
When last we left our storylines, the middle of the Western Conference table was packed with four teams sitting on 11 point. Minnesota’s win over RSL kicked them down the table, but the Galaxy and Timbers both won their games and now MNUFC shares third place with LA and Portland (although technically at the top of those three because of goal differential). With SKC idle until its game against MNUFC on September 13, a win by the Loons coupled with a loss or draw for Seattle when they face San Jose could vault Minnesota into another first-place tie with Sporting — just where they were prior to the suspension of the season in March. If they can do it with a scoring margin of two goals or more, they’ll be atop the table by goal differential.
Molino’s assist on Gasper’s goal on Sunday was his second game-winning assist of the season. He is tied for the third most game-winning assists in the league.
SOUND OF THE LOONS: REYNOSO WATCH IS OVER