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Recap and Notebook: Loons fall to Sounders on Saturday afternoon

Third time shut out in five matches

MLS: Minnesota United FC at Seattle Sounders FC Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Coming off the international break, it was hoped that injury woes for Minnesota United would start to taper off. Sadly that was not to be as the Loons injury list contained five names, down just one from their match in Houston two weeks ago.

Heath sent out his secondary choice of a 4-3-3 formation with Fragapane, Hunou, and Finlay up top. Trapp, Dotson, and Alonso would take up the midfield with Gasper, Dibassy, Boxall, and Métanire in the back with Miller manning the goal.

“We probably played Franco [Fragapane] 10 minutes more than we wanted to. He’s been out for, seemingly, seven weeks now, so we wanted to give him maybe an hour and we had to keep him on,” Heath said. “Because we were having enough of the play, we just needed to create something and to work the final third through the pitch a bit more with better runs and better balls in the box. It wasn’t ideal, but, obviously, that’s football. That’s what it is. At the end of the day, if players aren’t fit and aren’t available, then they’re not fit and available.”

The lack of players helped contribute to a slow and plodding match along with some defensive lapses. Something that the Seattle Sounders took advantage with their 22nd minute goal from João Paulo.

Adrian Heath said post match, “I’ll have to have another look at it. I say it all the time, and I’m not trying to just avoid the question. It’s really difficult to get any depth, gauge with where we are. But certainly, when it goes in, you see it on the big screen, it looks like he’s got far too much room for the pull back. But, hey, we’ll have a look at it. The first 10 minutes, we got done a couple of times. [Nicolas] Benezet got in between Romain [Metanire] and [Michael Boxall] on the big diagonal and I thought Wil Bruin got on one where we should be dealing with long, straight balls. But after that, I thought we coped really well with it. I can’t remember Tyler [Miller] having a lot to do, certainly in the second half.”

In terms of having less work to do the Loons did hold Seattle to just four shots in the last 45 minutes of the match. Minnesota also had a much better half in terms of offensive production in the second half than in the first. However that didn’t end up resulting in a win, a draw, or even a goal for the Loons, resulting in MNUFC being shut out the third time in their last five matches.

“The hardest thing is to score, right? For us, if we score multiple goals in a game like we had to in Houston, we want to be able to now stretch that out into the next game or even if it’s tie the game one-one.” Wil Trapp said. “Once again, it’s like I talked about earlier, creating multiple ways in which we can score whether it’s breaking lines between their defenders or it’s getting the ball wide and crossing in or it’s transition moments because we had some of those as well. Ultimately, it’s about the target, hitting the target, hit the target, hit the frame and make the goalkeeper make the save. We’ve seen when we do that, we tend to pick up pieces and score goals. It’s really one of those fine details.”

Wednesday night will see the Loons having both Chase Gasper and Osvaldo Alonso miss the match due to yellow card accumulation. Wil Trapp talked about how that will effect the side when they play Kansas City on Wednesday.

“It’s always difficult when you have to rotate players, especially guys that are so important to the team but it’s something that you gotta deal with. We have to have guys step up. You think about a guy like DJ [Taylor] who has deputized for Romain [Metanire] and Chase [Gasper], he’s done a great job when he’s been called upon. We’ll need him and we’ll see what we have to do about replacing Ozzie [Alonso] in the middle of the field, who is never an easy guy to replace. We’ll lose a little bit of leadership, a little bit of consistency but at the end of the day it’s about, once again, getting a result. We have to go to Kansas City and find a way to get a result out of the game.”