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Preview: Minnesota United vs FC Cincinnati

The struggling sides meet tonight in St. Paul with both looking to get on track

Ashle Norling/E Pluribus Loonum

Tonight at home Minnesota United opens the back half of the 18 match schedule following the MLS Is Back Tournament. This match comes against FC Cincinnati, a team who the Loons beat 7-1 in the clubs only MLS meeting to this point. The Loons did face the Orange and Blue in the 2018 US Open when Cincy was in the USL. MNUFC won that game 3-1 on penalties after drawing 0-0 through regulation.

Performance to this Point:

MNUFC has been struggling in their last few matches. The Loons have a 1-2-2 record in their last five matches with losses to SKC and the Crew and draws against Houston and RSL. In those five matches Minnesota has given up 7 goals (average of 1.4/match) but only scored 6 (average of 1.2/match). The problem with that is Minnesota has been shut out twice in that stretch of five.

FC Cincinnati on the other hand is actually having the same if not worse issues this season. Coming into their only meeting with Minnesota of 2020, Cincy is 3-7-4 with 13 points and a -13 goal differential. In their last five the Orange and Blue are 1-3-1 with two losses to Columbus, one to NYCFC, a draw with Philadelphia, and a win against New York Red Bulls.

Manager Thoughts:

Minnesota desperately needs a win over a struggling FCC team to stay above water in the playoff hunt. Adrian Heath will be looking for that win tonight at home.

“It’s always the case but football is not like, it’s never been like that. We have to play well and if they come in and defend well like they’ve done at times, it’s going to make it difficult for us. Trust me, I’ve got every respect for Jaap Stam and I know his guys are trying really, really hard. This is going to be a difficult game for us, there’s nothing easy in football. You have to go and earn it and work hard for it and that’s what we’re going to have to do. If we can put a similar performance in that we did the other night, then I think it will stand us in good sted.”

As for FC Cincinnati, manager Jaap Stam will be looking for redemption after a 4-0 thumping at the hands of NYCFC.

“After a loss like we had in New York, you always want to redeem yourself and play the next day possible,” head coach Jaap Stam said. “Normally over the last few months, that was a Wednesday. Now, there’s a week in between … Hopefully we can do well this weekend. It’s another challenge against a good side, but we’re going to go for it and trying to get a result.”

Players to Watch:

Based on the injury report I would have to say Ozzie Alonso. Alonso has been a big part of this team when not out on injury and now that he is off the injury report we may see him today. Whether or not he appears in the match I think Alonso being healthy is a huge key to getting the boys in black and blue back on track.

As for the opponents it’s a little harder to pick. In the last five matches they’ve given up 9 goals (all in their three losses) and have only scored twice in that stretch. So honestly I’m going to shoot from the hip and say the goalkeeper combination of Spencer Richey and Przemyslaw Tyton who have a combined 7 clean sheets on the season. Honourable mention however goes to the 20 year old midfielder and UCLA product Frankie Amaya.

Injury Report:

Minnesota United FC

  • Questionable: Ethan Finlay
  • Out: Tyler Miller, Ike Opara, Luis Amarilla, and Greg Ranjitsingh

FC Cincinnati

  • Questionable: None
  • Out: Jimmy McLaughlin, Nick Hagglund, Andrew Gutman, and Siem de Jong