Preview | #MINvCOL

Preview | #MINvCOL

MINNESOTA UNITED vs. COLORADO RAPIDS
Allianz Field | Saint Paul, Minnesota
10.28.2020 | MLS Week No. 21 | MLS Game No. 19
7:00 p.m. CT (FOX Sports North, FOX Sports GO, MNUFC Radio on SKOR North)

2020 Records:
COL: 5-5-4 (3-4-1 on the road)
MIN: 7-5-6 (3-1-2 at home)

Strange what a difference a moment can make. Had FC Cincinnati held off Minnesota United for a minute more, the teams would have split the points in a nil-nil draw on Saturday night and the Loons would be feeling very differently heading into a home matchup with the Colorado Rapids. Instead, Aaron Schoenfeld’s late strike off a corner kick gave MNUFC all three points and edged them closer into contention for that fourth spot in the Western Conference with LAFC. The returns of Jan Gregus and Osvaldo Alonso to the double pivot stiffened the team’s defensive spine a degree, and there’s reason to believe the return of Emanuel Reynoso to the starting XI could spark enhanced creativity in the attack for a team undefeated in its last five but averaging just a goal a game over that span. If the confidence borne of that last-second win can bolster the squad going forward, they have a chance to put some breathing room between themselves and the rest of the playoff hopefuls out West.

THE OPPOSITION
The story of the Colorado Rapids this season is the story of the MLS team most directly affected by the coronavirus. In all, 18 members of the organization (five players and 13 staff members) have tested positive since September 29, including Head Coach Robin Fraser. On Saturday, the Rapids returned to play against Sporting KC and looked rusty, shipping four en route to getting shut out on the road. Just how many of the six games they’ve missed can be made up before the end of the season will have a big impact on Colorado’s postseason hopes: by pure points, they’re 11th in the West but on points per game, they’d currently sit in seventh with a ticket to the postseason. MLS has yet to decide exactly how the matter of postponed games will figure into playoff seeding. In the meantime, the Rapids must simply focus on what they can control as they work to get back into regular playing shape.

AARON SCHOENFELD ON HIS FIRST GOAL WITH MNUFC

“I’m just happy to win. We all know the position we’re in, a tight race to get into the playoffs, and we knew we had to start getting three points in a couple games. So I’m just happy to help the team get some momentum going forward.”
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ADRIAN HEATH ON WHAT THE WIN AGAINST CINCY GIVES THE TEAM

“Well, yeah, as I said, it’s confidence, the one thing that’s difficult to give players, you know, there isn’t a magic wand that says, here we go, let’s give you some confidence. What we do know is playing well and winning games, that breeds an infectious sort of confidence within the group. And that’s what we’ve had today. You know, a really good group and the lads were in good spirits. We know we’re in this final sort of hurdle of the season. What’s been a really difficult season. But the win at the weekend put us in a really good spot. But it won’t count for an awful lot if we don’t back that up with another three points on Wednesday.”

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STORYLINE
MNUFC and Colorado share a back-and-forth and often contentious history with two Minnesota wins, three Colorado wins and two draws (one during the Group Stage of the MLS Is Back Tournament) between them. The Loons earned their first point in MLS from a 2-2 draw at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in March of 2017, but have also suffered ignominious defeats, including a 1-0 shutout that ultimately sparked an 11-game unbeaten run for Minnesota last season. Only once has a game been decided by more than a goal. At several points, the two sides have nearly come to blows. In short, they don’t seem to like each other very much. There will be a little bit more bad blood for them to work out as Kei Kamara faces his former team for the first time since coming to MNUFC.

FIRST TOUCHES

Dayne St. Clair earned his fifth clean sheet and fourth win in ten appearances for Minnesota on Saturday./p>

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INJURY REPORT

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)

Colorado Rapids

  • OUT: D - Kortne Ford (left knee injury)
  • OUT: M - Kellyn Acosta (not medically cleared)
  • OUT: M - Braian Galvan (not medically cleared)
  • OUT: M - Collen Warner (not medically cleared)

SOUND OF THE LOONS: CAL, CATS AND CINCINNATI

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