FC CINCINNATI vs. MINNESOTA UNITED
Nippert Stadium | Cincinnati, Ohio
10.24.2020 | MLS Week No. 20 | MLS Game No. 18
6:30 p.m. CT (FOX Sports North, FOX Sports GO, MNUFC Radio on SKOR North)
FCC: 4-11-4 (2-3-4 at home)
MIN: 6-5-6 (3-4-4 on the road)
The good news is that Minnesota United is undefeated in their last four games, which includes three clean sheets. The not-so-good news is the Loons have only managed one win in that same span, which includes their last game against Houston when they went into the locker room up two goals but left it later that night with just a point after surrendering two second-half goals. The it-gets-better news is that their lone win in that stretch was against FC Cincinnati — the team they’re now heading off to face in the Queen City. Hassani Dotson will be unavailable following a crushing challenge from Adam Lundkvist — who was given a three-game suspension after the fact — during the Dynamo game, but several other Loons will be returning to the fray. With just five games left on the schedule (currently), there couldn’t be a better opportunity for MNUFC to get three points on the road as they angle for a top four seed in the West.
just took a DNA test... pic.twitter.com/bDWaogodvH— Minnesota United FC (@MNUFC) October 22, 2020
At this point, barring spectacular late-season heroics or a complete collapse by teams above them, FC Cincinnati is going to chalk up 2020 as a sophomore slump not unlike the one MNUFC experienced. Although they’ve bumped their points per game up from a woeful 0.71 last season to 0.84, a rocky start to the year with coaching drama has led to just one win in their last seven games and just two in their last 14. First year Head Coach Jaap Stam has experimented with several different looks in terms of formation, most recently settling into a 4-2-3-1. The team is still figuring out how to make the most of DP signings Yuya Kubo and Jurgen Locadia, who have underperformed as Cincy has managed just 11 goals on the year — six fewer than the next lowest scoring team in the league, D.C. United. Add to that winning just as many games at home as on the road (two) this season, and it’s imperative that MNUFC get on the front foot despite being on the road and take control of the game early.
OSVALDO ALONSO ON TRAINING INSIDE AND THE SNOW
“I’m not happy either way. Out there is too cold, in here it’s the turf but it is what it is. I get used to it a little more now. But like I said, I’m happy because I played again, training again with the team and healthy, is more important for me.”
ADRIAN HEATH ON FC CINCINNATI
“They’ve been good at home. They beat Columbus a few weeks ago. And narrowly got beat by Toronto — it was 1-nil and they thought they got a penalty in the last minute, which, they probably deserved, with their second half performance. So, you know, they’ve got some good footballers and they can hurt you. I’m more concerned with us. Can we approach the game in a positive manner? And, if we do, I think we’re more than enough to go and get a result. Because we’re at that stage of the season now. Five to go. We know every game is going to be important.”MORE
📍 Inside pic.twitter.com/nil9KiheDt— Minnesota United FC (@MNUFC) October 21, 2020
There’s still a lot to play for out West in this weird and wild season. Currently, three teams — MNUFC, FC Dallas and San Jose — are tied with 24 points and two more sit below them with 21 points. The twist? FC Dallas and San Jose are playing the two teams with 21 points, the Whitecaps and RSL. Should they lose and should the Loons fail to take anything from their game against Cincy, spots five through nine will ALL have 24 points. It’s safe to say that a hot streak by any of those teams over the next two weeks could significantly shift the playoff picture.
Finlay and Molino are among the 10 players in the league with two multi-goal games this season. Minnesota is the only team with more than one player who has scored multiple goals in multiple games.
Minnesota United FC
- OUT: GK – Tyler Miller (hip surgery)
- OUT: D – Ike Opara (not medically cleared)
- OUT: F – Luis Amarilla (ankle injury)
- OUT: M – Hassani Dotson (ankle injury)
- OUT: D - Greg Garza(right knee injury)
- OUT: D - Mathieu Deplagne (not medically cleared)
- OUT: GK - Przemyslaw Tyton (not medically cleared)
SOUND OF THE LOONS: CAL, CATS AND CINCINNATI