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Preview: Minnesota United at Toronto FC

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The Loons travel south to face the Reds in a rare Friday night match.

Quintero
Darwin Quintero tries to get around Eriq Zavaleta Minnesota United’s 4-3 victory over Toronto FC
Tim C McLaughlin

After opening Allianz Field last weekend with an entertaining 3-3 draw, Minnesota United returns to the road. The Loons will fly, uh, south to face Toronto FC.

The Reds have had a strong start to the 2019 season and are unbeaten at BMO Field. They currently sit 4th in the Eastern Conference.

After a highly disappointing 2018, Toronto looks to be a rejuvenated side, thanks to the play of Alejandro Pozuelo and Jozy Altidore. The attacking duo has dazzled as Altidore sits fourth in the league in goals and Pozuelo second in assists.

“Pozuelo is a great player but if we do our job and keep him away from reaching the ball, it’ll be good for us,” said midfielder Ozzie Alonso of defending against the new attacker. “If we maintain possession of the ball and keep it away from them, we’ll be good.”

As the Loons embark on a challenging stretch of games — in timeframe and competitive level — manager Adrian Heath will face some difficult decisions in picking his lineup. Ike Opara will miss Friday’s game due to the head injury sustained against NYCFC last weekend and Miguel Ibarra remains questionable with a hamstring problem, but is unlikely to be rushed back. Kevin Molino is off the injury report, but may not be ready for a start.

“Losing the day will be different for us, playing a Friday evening game will be a little bit different, but it’s right back at it,” said midfielder Ethan Finlay. “We’re already in here Monday preparing for Friday’s game. We have to change our mentality a little bit and come off the high of having a home opener.”

The Vitals

Opponent: Toronto FC

Location: BMO Field, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Start Time: 7:00p CT

TV: Fox Sports North+

Radio: SKOR North (AM 1500)

Streaming: ESPN+ (free trial available, local blackouts apply)

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