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Preview: Minnesota United vs Chicago Fire

With just two matches to go MNUFC looks to stake their claim in the top four of the West tonight.

Ashle Norling/E Pluribus Loonum

Tonight Minnesota United will finally face off with Chicago Fire, in a game that was originally scheduled for October 14th. That match however was called off just mere hours before kickoff and after the Fire had already arrived in the Twin Cities for the contest. Both teams are looking to stake claims in the MLS Cup Playoffs but in two totally different scenarios.

Run of Form:

The Loons come into tonight’s showdown with the Fire on a 3-0-2 run in their last five matches. Along with that they have two straight wins over FC Cincinnati and Colorado Rapids. One downside for the Loons has been the lack of training due to multiple outbreaks of COVID-19. Another few cases led to the cancellation of Sunday’s scheduled match against Sporting Kansas City. Something that actually helped them in the playoff race.

Chicago on the other hand comes in to tonight with a 1-1-3 record across their last five matches. The only loss was towards the middle of October to SKC. Unlike MNUFC who are guaranteed into the playoffs Chicago is currently fighting for a spot. A loss tonight by itself could knock the Fire out of the playoffs and send them tumbling down the Eastern Conference ladder.

Manager Thoughts:

Minnesota has struggled with cancelled matches and lack of training recently here in 2020. Adrian Heath noted the frustration in the pre match press conference.

“Frustrating for them as well. Players are creatures of habit, waking up every morning, not knowing you’re going to be training, what time you’re going to be training as we try to work with individual groups. That’s not ideal. But I have to say, they’re coming on, trying to make a joke about it. We’ve tried to see the light of the fact that there’s nothing that we can do. These are the rules that we have to abide by. We don’t want anyone else getting [coronavirus], we don’t want anyone else coming down with it. We know it’s difficult, as it’s been proved outside of sports, outside of the bubbles, it’s really difficult to contain it. As I say, it’s day to day and it’s not ideal but the guys have been great. We just say to them, ‘Listen, let’s come in and do the work and do the best we can.’ That’s all we can do.”

Other Notes:

A few former Loons will take the field tonight in the oppositions colours. Francisco Calvo is expected to start at LCB and Bobby Shuttleworth is expected to start at GK for the Fire. This will be Calvo’s first trip to Allianz Field since it opened last year and Shuttleworth’s first start against Minnesota.

Injury Report:

Minnesota United FC

  • Questionable: None
  • Out: Tyler Miller, Luis Amarilla, Ike Opara, Hassani Dotson, Ozzie Alonso, and Jacori Hayes

Chicago Fire

  • Questionable: None
  • Out: Kenneth Kronholm and Luka Stojanović