Tonight Minnesota United heads to Edison, NJ to take on New York Red Bulls in the fourth match of the season for the Loons. Last July the playoff bound Red Bulls took the Loons down 3-0 in last game of a 5 match winless streak for MNUFC.
This year is different as MNUFC has a 2-1-0 record after 3 matches having a 1 goal loss to San Jose and 1 goal wins over Orlando City and Chicago, 2 of those clubs (Chicago and San Jose) qualified for the MLS Cup Playoffs last season.
NYRB has had a similar start winning their home opener against Portland Timbers 4-0 but losing to Real Salt Lake last week 1-0 on the road. The biggest advantage Red Bulls have is the amount of time they’ve played together. Just since March 1st they’ve played 5 matches, including 3 CONCACAF Champions League, all 3 of which they have won.
Concerns about the Defense:
Last week the concern was could we replace Molino’s impact? The answer, yes. Miguel Ibarra got the start and along with himself Ethan Finlay and Mason Toye all showed themselves to be capable replacements for Kevin Molino. The problem is this week the defense, specifically the backs as Franciso Calvo and Michael Boxall are off on international duty.
One likely replacement is Brent Kallman. Kallman is one of few players (along with Ibarra, Ibson, and Ramirez) left over from the NASL days and showed himself to be a very capable player in MLS last season. The other replacement is much up in the air but with the problems the Loons have had with their back line I would expect them to try and control the pace of the match and possibly push for a draw to come out of New Jersey with one point.
Tune in: Saturday, March 1 2018 at 6 PM (CT) on Fox Sports Go