Minnesota United hosts LA Galaxy tomorrow night at Allianz Field in the Loons first ever MLS Cup Playoff appearance. Not only is this the first playoffs appearance in MLS but it’s the first since 2015 (in the NASL) and they’ll look to get their first win since becoming the Loons.
After a tough end of the season that saw the Loons drop a match in Seattle two weeks ago that decided the number 2 seed in the West. Minnesota would get to host a playoff match as Christian Ramirez gave a Superman performance for Houston to give MNUFC a needed assist to get that hosting spot.
Standing in Minnesota’s way of a victory are the number 5 seeded LA Galaxy, that Houston beat two weeks ago to give MNUFC the home match, led by Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Zlatan is a player who will undoubtedly need to be shut down on Sunday night as his 30 goals and 151 shots are second only to crosstown rivals LAFC’s Carlos Vela’s 34 goals and 160 shots. Minnesota United head coach Adrian Heath echoed that sentiment earlier this week in training.
“Our experienced players are going to have to show up,” said Heath. “Our back four is going to have to show up. They have [Uriel] Antuna on one side, [Cristian] Pavon on the other side and Zlatan [Ibrahimovic] through the middle, there’s a lot of goals there. We’re playing against one of the best strikers in the last 15 years so we are going to have to be at our best. They’ve probably conceded more goals than they would have anticipated this year and their away record at times, has not been what it should have been but I know what big players are like. Cometh the hour, cometh the man.”
Another foe the Loons will face is the goalkeeper opposite of Vito Mannone, the Galaxy’s David Bingham. Vito has given up just 46 goals on 175 shots face with 129 saves and 11 shutouts. Bingham has saved more shots at 141 but has given up more goals at 54 and has 8 shutouts compared to Mannone’s 11.
When asked about whether or not the US Open Cup run has helped prepare MNUFC for the playoffs, Mannone had this to say.
“Definitely. It’s been our cup run and we know every cup run can help you massively in terms of performances, players getting minutes, everybody is getting minutes. It creates that cohesion of a winning mentality which is again, knockout games. You need to progress and progress. Since the start of the Cup, we said five games to the final, we can do it. It’s very close but we just need to win five games. I know it sounds difficult but that’s what it is. It’s four more games in front of us. The playoffs are a new tournament. We start from zero-zero so it’s game on.”
Minnesota while they are prepared will have a tough task at hand on Sunday night against the Galaxy. Kickoff is set for 7:30 PM in St. Paul and If you can’t make the match at Allianz Field you can watch it on ESPN or listen to it on SKOR North. We’ll also be covering the match from Allianz Field and you can live game updates via our Twitter @EPluribusLoonum.
Minnesota United FC
- Questionable: None
- Out: None
- Questionable: M – Romain Alessandrini (knee) and M – Perry Kitchen (groin)
- Out: None