Minnesota United FC will host DC United at Allianz Field tonight for only the second time and hope for a repeat of that last meeting - a 1-0 win on April 28, 2019, MNUFC’s first win at Allianz. Three points could be a defining result for either club, with Minnesota fighting to keep an undefeated streak alive and DC entering a new era under head coach Wayne Rooney.
We caught up with Sarah Kallassy of Black-and-Red United to talk about the changes and what to expect from Saturday’s meeting.
E Pluribus Loonum: What formations/tactics should we watch for from DC United?
Sarah Kallassy: “Despite waiting for Wayne Rooney’s work visa to be finalized, the legend is already providing advice to interim head coach Chad Ashton and his coaching staff. As seen in Wednesday’s match against the Columbus Crew, D.C. United is working on cultivating patience on the ball while building out of the back. Previously, the Black-and-Red had clung to a go-for-broke high press under former head coach Hernán Losada. Rooney is looking to adopt a more sustainable approach that will see players through the grueling MLS season. You can expect to see a 4-2-3-1 formation.”
EPL: How would you describe the recent shakeups within DCU, on the pitch and/or behind the scenes?
SK: “With Wayne Rooney appointed the new head coach of D.C. United, the club is in a state of flux. The locker room seems reinvigorated as players push themselves to earn a place in Rooney’s XI. Unfortunately, some of the recent shakeups involve farewells. Just yesterday it was announced that stalwart performer Julian Gressel had been traded to the Vancouver Whitecaps for $600,000 in GAM and an additional $300,000 in GAM incentives. While the official line is that Gressel didn’t fit into Rooney’s anticipated new system, his trade also will cause current players to question if they are on the chopping block.”
EPL: Who are the dangerous players to watch in this match and going forward?
SK: “Taxi Fountas and Jackson Hopkins could very well be the stars of tonight’s match for D.C. 18-year-old Hopkins has drawn the attention of new head coach Wayne Rooney for his high soccer IQ and ability to provide precise service on the pitch. During D.C. United’s matchup with the Columbus Crew, Hopkins and Fountas were able to link up on several occasions, skirting the Crew’s backline to create dangerous opportunities. Fountas is a menace himself, able to easily get the drop on opposing defense.”
Matchup History Notes
DC United: In four total meetings the clubs are 2-2 with the home side always coming out ahead. Last season’s matchup at Audi Field ended 3-1 in DC’s favor. That is a result DC supporters are dreaming about this season as the club sits at the bottom of the Eastern Conference with a record of 5-10-3 (2-5-1 on the road).
MNUFC: Of the five Loons to score against DC in the last four matchups (7 goals total), only one remains: Centerback Bakaye Dibassy. Four other Loons have added five assists and only two of them are still wearing the Black-and-Blue: Franco Fragapane, who is expected to start on Saturday, and Romain Metanire, who is unavailable due to injury. The Loons sit in fifth place in the West, 8-8-4 on the season and 4-3-3 at home.
Out: Kervin Arriaga (ankle), Hassani Dotson (knee), Niko Hansen (thigh), Romain Metanire (thigh), Tani Oluwaseyi (thigh), Patrick Weah (knee)
Out: Adrien Perez (foot), Bill Hamid (hand), Brad Smith (knee), Ola Kamara (glute)
Questionable: Tony Alfaro (ankle), Russell Canouse (thigh - did travel), Julian Gressel (glute)
Minnesota United FC and DC United will kickoff at 7 P.M. CST on Saturday, July 16. Minnesota viewers can watch on BSN and The CW Twin Cities or listen on the radio on 1500 ESPN.