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Preview: Minnesota United v NYCFC

The Loons open up their new home, Allianz Field, as they take on Domenec Torrent’s winless side.

Allianz Field
An interior view of Allianz Field after the inaugural scarf raising ceremony
Tim C McLaughlin

Today, the doors to Allianz Field open. Today, we get to celebrate the greatest moment in Minnesota soccer history, along with (roughly) 20,000 friends. Words can’t explain what tomorrow will mean, so for now, let’s focus on the basics of the game.

Minnesota United fans, this is the first ever preview for a match at Allianz Field. Here we go.

NYCFC attempts to break their (one-game) winless streak in Minnesota

New York City FC sits in the eleventh place spot in the Eastern Conference after five matches played. They’re 0-4-1. Their record is an interesting one if we look at it. They drew LAFC 2-2, but were pummeled against Toronto, 4-0.

Domenec Torrent was a highly sought after coach arriving in Major League Soccer during the 2018 season, and the affiliation with Manchester City FC was what allowed NYCFC to get their man. However, Torrent’s stint has not been great of late.

We spoke with Christian Smith from our sister site, Hudson River Blue, on Torrent and a few other topics.

Q: NYCFC haven’t won a match yet this season, however, you’ve drawn four and only lost one. What does your side need to do to play spoiler for the home opener at Allianz Field? Who needs to step up for your side tomorrow?

A: When it comes down to individual performances, I think it’s an absolute must that newest DP Alexandru Mitrita step up and ruin Minnesota’s big day. We’ve seen him play pretty well to this point, but we need him to be great. You can also say the same for newest acquisition Heber. We need to be more clinical with our chances. That’s how you play spoiler.

Q: Four goals in five matches, including three scoreless matches, have seen NYCFC fall to 11th in the Eastern Conference. What needs to change moving forward? Is Torrent the right man leading forward?

A: I defended him for the longest time when he came over. As it stands right now, though, I am firmly in the #DomeOut camp. There was no excuse for NYCFC’s massive collapse last season which saw arguably the second-best team in the league (behind Atlanta) start to struggle to get results. And despite no longer having David Villa, there’s no excuse for this team being winless in its first five games to start 2019. Certain guys are cut out to be head coaches. Others just make a good sidekick. Dome is the latter. So long as he is the coach, NYCFC will continue to be mediocre.

Q: With MNUFC opening up Allianz Field, considerably one of the best in the United States, where does NYCFC’s future lie. Yankee stadium has been the laughing stock of stadiums of late, with video and images of the playing surface tearing up.

A: Your guess is just as good as mine. Within the last few months, we’ve heard sporting director Claudio Reyna say “we’re close.” Elsewhere, Yankees president Randy Levine has said that they wish to have an announcement “this year.” But we’ve gotten this run-around before. The club has been terribly opaque when it comes to stadium developments, and supporters know just as much now as they did in 2015: nothing. I’d say even the most optimistic predictions will have us remain at Yankee Stadium for at least the next 3-4 years.

Staff Predictions

Zak Lippert: 3-2 MNUFC, with NYCFC scoring the first and last goals of the game. Darwin and Rodriguez don’t click, substitute striker gets a goal and an assist.

Ashle Norling: 2-1 MNUFC

Seth Steffenhagen: 3-1 MNUFC, per usual. Calvo lands on the scoresheet.

Eli Hoff: 4-1 MNUFC, Gregus with a brace, Finlay and Darwin add the other goals.

Tim Mclaughlin: 2-1 MNUFC

John Stephenson: 2-1 MNUFC, Angelo and Darwin with the goals

Gustavo Navarette: 2-1 MNUFC, Romario and Quintero with the goals.