Minnesota United and Orlando City had very different offseasons when it came to player acquisition. While Orlando City looked to add a lot to their roster, the Loons stayed mostly quiet. Luckily for the Loons, injuries and suspensions will leave Orlando looking like much less of the team they’ll hope to be later on in the season.
Last year in Adrian Heath’s first match against the club he took to two USL titles, Minnesota won 1-0 at TCF thanks to a Christian Ramirez goal. It was the two clubs’ first and only ever meeting. In their second match, Ramirez will be a game time decision and and last weeks starting striker Abu Danladi is out with a left hamstring strain. That means rookie Mason Toye might be leading the line against the Lions.
Orlando will look much different this time around than when they visited Minnesota last year. Joe Bendik will still be in goal though and Jonathan Spector will still be leading back line. Spector recorded an assist in City’s late goal that gave them a draw against DC United last year. However they’ll be without former star striker Cyle Larin who left for Europe this offseason and their biggest offseason acquisition, last years MLS assist leader Sacha Kljestan due to suspension. Dom Dwyer, the big money striker they acquired from Sporting KC last year who is expected to fill Larin’s shoes, will also miss the game due to a quad strain. As battered as the Lions are they still managed a draw against an upstart DC United team. Expect the Loons to lean heavily on Kevin Molino to create offense with questions on who will start up top for Minnesota. Molino left City for United with Heath in 2016 but missed their first matchup in 2017 so this will be his first match against his former club. He’ll look to carry on his hot start to the season in Orlando after scoring both goals in United’s 2-3 lose to San Jose in their opener last week.
The game is at 6:30pm CT and will be broadcast on FOX sports North Plus and MLS Live.