It’s quickly becoming the time of year where many soccer fans shift their attention from their domestic teams to the international level.
It’s hard to blame them, especially at the current moment: the USWNT should be successful at the 2019 Women’s World Cup, which began Friday; the United States’ Men’s U20 side is making an impressive run in their World Cup; and the USMNT is preparing for the Gold Cup, including their first match, which will take place at Allianz Field.
Some of Minnesota United’s players have already had to shift gears as well. Midfielders Jan Gregus and Rasmus Schuller are with their national teams as they navigate EURO 2020 Qualifying. Fullback Romain Metanire has the African Cup of Nations to attend to, and attacking midfielder Kevin Molino is about to have his hands full with the Gold Cup. Those four are already away from the team.
Nonetheless, there’s a league game to attend to.
The Loons travel to Commerce City, Colorado on Saturday night to face the Colorado Rapids.
The Rapids sit in 12th place at the bottom of the table in the Western Conference; the Loons are in 6th.
The game should — emphasis on should — be a confidence booster for United. Though Colorado has enjoyed a recent uptick in form, they’re still a struggling side and a potential chance for the Loons’ attack to get the good times rolling again.
That’s a big if, and, with a break on the horizon, Minnesota has to push through the (temporary) finish line. As part of the effort, they’ll have to cope with the high altitude that the Rapids’ home poses.
“It’s tough playing out there, we know the altitude can affect us but I think if we prepare ourselves well, psychologically we know we can win,” Loons captain Ozzie Alonso said.
Besides the international absences, United will be without goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth (knee). Defender Carter Manley is questionable.
Colorado will miss defender Kortne Ford (knee) and potentially forward Jonathan Lewis (hamstring), who is questionable. Defender Deklan Wynne’s status and injury are both undisclosed.
Start Time: 8:00p CT, 7:00p local
Location: Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, Commerce City, CO
TV: Fox Sports North
Streaming: ESPN+ (free trial available, local blackouts apply)
Radio: SKOR North (1500 AM)
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