I have a plan.
It may be crazy, but you know what? I may be crazy.
Minnesota United has to travel to Kansas City...again. It is their inaugural match in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup as an MLS club. It’s also time for the expansion to have some fun with the lineup against Sporting Kansas City.
This is my 5-4-1. Which, I admit, appears to be closer to a 5-2-2-1 or even a 5-2-3. I wanted to start some players that do not normally get the start, but there are just too many unknowns with some players. I fully expect to see Collin Martin or someone similar, but I just could not give them the start.
Instead, I did start a fair amout of players that are certainly not automatic starters, but I felt comfortable with them. And now it is time to defend.
I have Brent Kallman as the leader of my new FIVE man backline. Normally, I advocate a “less is more” strategy, but I see an advantage to this. Having Kallman in a deep CB role - to the point that he could almost be acting like a Sweeper - allows for the two fullbacks the freedom to enter the attack.
That is why (if, you were wondering) I am starting Kevin Venegas. He showed in his one start against the New England Revolution that he is is not the best defender, but he still has a wicked cross. Viva is best suited to be in a wing back role, and this is the perfect opportunity to use him. Add in Marc Burch on the other side of the pitch and the Loons have the ability to swing in crosses from both sides. Although depending pn how far the wing backs push into the offense, I can finally see my dream three man backline.
I started the big man with Kallman. It is time to see what we have in the 6’6” Joe Greenspan. He was recently recalled from his successful loan spell with the Pittsburgh Riverhounds, and with Francisco Calvo on international duty, it is time for him to start. With Jerome Thiesson likely out (he was listed on the MNUFC injury report, I have Greenspan slotting into a center to rightback position.)
Finally, I gave Justin Davis the start next to Burch. I know Davis loves to attack, but I would also like him to be next to Kallman in more of a supporting role.
I started the two players that I still have no idea what we have in them. We know what we will get when we start Christian Ramirez (goals) and Sam Cronin (leadership), but what will we get from Rasmus Schuller and Bashkim Kadrii? The Scandinavians both have shown flashes of brilliance, but have shown just as many baffling mistakes. The U.S. Open Cup is a perfect time for both Schuller and Kadrii to show the talent that made them exciting signings before the season started.
I also decided on Ish Jome starting in place of the likely injured Miguel Ibarra. Even if Ibarra is good to go for this match, I think it would be smart to sit him. Jome looked alright, but extremely cautious against Orlando City, so I would like him to start in a Cup game where he can use his speed and creativity to get the ball to Ramirez.
I wanted to go big with this lineup, but I also want to win. This is a “rivalry” game. I understand that the U.S. Open Cup may not excite every fan, but it is a historic tournament and an opportunity for MNUFC to quiet the doubters.