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Preview: Minnesota United vs. LAFC

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Minnesota United continue to battle in the Western Conference tonight against top-dogs LAFC.

Boxall
Micheal Boxall tries to stop Marco Urena during Minnesota United’s 5-1 victory over LAFC
Tim C McLaughlin

The Loons head out west tonight for yet another tough Western Conference matchup, this time against the kids of Los Angeles: LAFC. It’s sure to be yet another tough match for the Loons, as LAFC is undefeated in their last six games.

Minnesota United is coming off a disappointing US Open Cup Final that saw poor defense and missed chances that led to Atlanta being crowned champion. United’s second half in the Final looked much improved; however, questions are still raised looking forward. Veteran defensive midfielder Ozzie Alonso has been a rock for Minnesota but has been listed as out for tonight’s match. Filling his pivotal spot will likely be rookie Hassani Dotson who, with his fellow teammate Mason Toye, received a US U23 National team call up.

LAFC comes off a thrilling 3-3 tie against their Los Angeles older brothers, which saw MLS top scorer Carlos Vela subbed off with an apparent hamstring injury. Vela is listed as questionable for tonight’s match — which is a potential break for Minnesota’s defense.

The match has much more at stake for Minnesota than LAFC, who have already clinched a playoff berth. For Minnesota, it is the start of a crucial last full month of the season. United currently sits in 7th place in the West and could jump to 3rd or 4th with a win tonight. However, a loss will certainly up the pressure on Adrian Heath to make the playoffs because Portland sits in 8th place, only 2 points back from Minnesota.

The match kicks off at 9:30 central time on Fox Sports North and SKOR North, with pregame coverage beginning at 9:00.

Loonum staff predictions:

John Stephenson: 2-1 late LAFC winner

Tim McLaughlin: 3-0 LAFC

Jacob Schneider: 6-3 LAFC, 2-2 at half

Ashle Norling: 3-0 LAFC

Gustavo Navarrete: 3-0 LAFC