FC DALLAS vs. MINNESOTA UNITED
Toyota Stadium | Frisco, Texas
10.11.2020 | MLS Week No. 17 | MLS Game No. 17
7:30 p.m. CT (FOX Sports North, FOX Sports GO, MNUFC Radio on SKOR North)
FCD: 5-4-6 (4-1-4 at home)
MIN: 6-5-5 (3-4-5 on the road)
In their fourth trip to Texas in the last month and a half, the Loons will face FC Dallas for the third time this season, aiming to hold onto their place in the top half of the Western Conference playoff picture and perhaps even better it. Minnesota’s scoreless draw with Nashville SC on Tuesday once again displayed the burgeoning chemistry in the attack — despite the lack of goals it was arguably a better performance than last weekend’s win over FC Cincinnati. Emanuel Reynoso has looked better each game since his arrival and the potential partnership between he and Kevin Molino is tantalizing. MNUFC will need to find another gear above what they showed against the Boys in Gold if they want a result against a tough Toros side — in four trips to Toyota Stadium since joining MLS, the Loons have not taken a single point.
Zoom out the right amount and there is not all that much separating the fortunes of FC Dallas and MNUFC this season. Over the last eight games, they have the same record: 3-2-3. Minnesota have scored five more goals than the Toros, but also allowed four more. Major acquisition Franco Jara has been inconsistent as the tip of the spear in a generally dynamic attack, notching just five goals so far, but Andres Ricuarte has looked the part of a true No. 10 with speedsters Michel Barrios and Fafa Picault on either side of him. Whatever Dallas’ flaws, they are invariably an extremely tough out at home, so it would not be surprising to see MNUFC come out a little more conservative in the hopes of absorbing the home team’s best punches early before trying to sneak a goal later.
ETHAN FINLAY ON THE IMPACT OF FANS IN NASHVILLE
“I don’t think there’s honestly too much of an impact. It’s so weird because usually when there’s fans in stadiums, stadiums are quite full. So, you can’t really hear any of the chitter chatter. Now, you can hear everyone and their mother and what they exactly say. So, I would say, you can hear more and have a better understanding of what’s being yelled at you, whether they’re cheering you or jeering you, I guess. But, for us, you know, it didn’t play any kind of factor. It would be great to have fans here in Minnesota, but we understand that the health and safety is the number one priority.”
ADRIAN HEATH ON THE PAIRING OF HAYES AND DOTSON
“They’re both two young guys who have had the opportunity and I think they’ve done excellent. I thought their performance in the second half in Nashville sort of epitomized where everything else was. They were in good spots. Really good both sides of the ball. With the ball and without the ball. And they certainly gave us a real good shield in front of the back four the other night. As we’ve spoke to them two guys, them two can be pleased with their efforts over the last couple of weeks.”MORE
While Hassani Dotson and Jacori Hayes did well at the double pivot for MNUFC against Nashville SC, there’s no denying that the Loons will at times keenly feel the lack of Jan Gregus in his regular position during his time away playing for the Slovakian national team. The good news is that Osvaldo Alonso is well on his way to recovery and Head Coach Adrian Heath is optimistic about getting the squad’s captain back into the gameday lineup as soon as this weekend. Over the next several games, however, it will be worth tracking who among the team’s squad of midfielders (Dotson, Hayes, plus Raheem Edwards, Marlon Hairston and James Musa) are called upon to rotate through that double pivot in a season that has redefined “compressed” when it comes to scheduling.
Dayne St. Clair has not allowed a goal in 290 minutes, the longest goalless run in the club’s MLS tenure. He surpassed Vito Mannone’s previous record of 259 minutes.
LOON DIVE: KEI KAMARA