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Breakdown: MNUFC on their best run of the season

After an okay first four matches, Minnesota United has struggled until now.

Minnesota United forward Luis Amarilla (9) celebrates after scoring a goal against Real Salt Lake at Allianz Field in Saint Paul, Minn., on Sunday, July 3, 2022. (Photo by Seth Steffenhagen/Steffenhagen Photography)

Minnesota United’s 2022 season started off on an okay foot. Two draws followed by two wins, but from then until their win against LA Galaxy the Loons went 3-8-1 in the ensuing 12 matches. But starting with that win over LA Galaxy, MNUFC has seemed to turn the table around on their season. The Loons now are on a run of three straight wins, the longest winning streak of the season to this point.

Last three matches at a glance

Heading up to this current run the Loons were 1-3-1 having only gotten four points in a five match stretch.

“Just explained to the players at the minute we’re not doing enough. It doesn’t look as though it’s urgent enough to concede goals and to lose games. That’s something that we have to address,” Adrian Heath said to the media following Minnesota’s loss in Fort Lauderdale to Inter Miami CF.

Following the late loss in South Florida the Loons have gone on a three match winning streak with victories over LA Galaxy, Real Salt Lake, and Vancouver Whitecaps. In the first of those wins, against LAG, the Loons struck early with a 9th minute goal from Reynoso and assistance was added when Kévin Cabral was given a red card in the 25th minute. Reynoso added a second goal in the 43rd minute just seven minutes after Franco Fragapane’s goal, pushing MNUFC to a 3-2 win.

“Sometimes you get things in games, maybe, sometimes you don’t. I thought our play in the first half… I don’t care if we’re playing against 10 men, it was outstanding, our decision making, “ Adrian Heath said after Minnesota’s win over LAG.

A few days later Minnesota once again picked up a 3-2 win against Real Salt Lake, led by Reynoso’s two goals and one from Amarilla. MNUFC also won their last match over Vancouver, 3-1. After going down to the Whitecaps in the 66th minute, MNUFC scored three unanswered goals to take a late win away in Canada. Lawrence, Amarilla, and Fragapane would be Minnesota’s goal scorers, scoring in the 71st, 84th, and 88th minutes.

“I think, first and foremost, thought it was a really good performance all evening. The sort of game plan that we planned worked really, really well,” Adrian Heath stated in the post match press conference.

Looking at the stats

Minnesota has historically struggled with their offence, while having a solid defense. That stat is solidified by MNUFC’s xG with a combined xG of 4.8 over the previous three matches. Additionally Minnesota United has only scored three goals or more five times in 2022, three of those five coming in their last three matches, further showing their struggles.

They have by all accounts outperformed themselves having scored 4.2 more goals than expected. Additionally the Loons tallied 42 shots in those three matches with only 18 (42.86%) reaching target, giving them a 50% scoring rate if the shot goes on target, and massively outperforming their statistics.

On defence the Loons opponents have a net xG of 4.9, 38 shots, 13 shots on target (34.21%) and five goals in those three games. While those are relatively good, the opposition is pushing crosses nearly at will with an average of 16.3 crosses per match or one cross every 5 12 minutes. The combination of factors has led to a heavy reliance on the goalkeeper and central defence with the Loons blocking 13 shots, saving 8, and having 70 clearances in those matches.

Final Breakdown

Minnesota United has outperformed their statistics both on offence and defence during their three match winning streak. The question going forward will be if they can keep outperforming their stats or not and, if not, will the stats start to match their results. The Loons face Sporting Kansas City tomorrow night at Allianz Field with kickoff scheduled for 7 PM. The match will be shown on ESPN and ESPN Deportes and can be heard on 1500 ESPN.