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Preview: Real Salt Lake/MNUFC

The Loons play their fourth match of 2020, and second of the Mickey Mouse Cup tonight against RSL in Orlando.

September 15, 2019 - Saint Paul, Minnesota, United States - Minnesota United forward Abu Danladi (99) dribbles the ball during the match against Real Salt Lake at Allianz Field.
September 15, 2019 - Saint Paul, Minnesota, United States - Minnesota United forward Abu Danladi (99) dribbles the ball during the match against Real Salt Lake at Allianz Field.
(Photo by Seth Steffenhagen/Steffenhagen Photography)

Minnesota United is 3-0, that’s right folks THREE WINS and ZERO LOSSES so far in 2020. Ok I know it’s not as impressive considering there was over four months between matches but still, when was the last time the Loons started the season 3-0? The answer, and seriously, was the 2014 NASL season when they actually started 4-0-0 before falling to the New York Cosmos. Could the Loons make it 4 in a row against RSL?

In fact MNUFC is actually very successful on the field against Real Salt Lake being 3-2-1 (W-D-L) against the side since moving to MLS in 2017. The only loss the Loons suffered to RSL was also back in 2017 in their first trip to Sandy, UT’s Rio Tinto Stadium; and THAT was only a 1-0 loss as well.

While the Loons do have the upper hand in the teams previous meetings it doesn’t mean RSL will be a cake walk. RSL is 1-0-2 (W-L-D) on the year so far with the win coming just 5 days ago when they took down Colorado 2-0 in both team’s tournament opener. Minnesota will also have to deal with Croatian Midfielder, Damir Kreilach and Slovak Midfielder, Albert Rusnák. Kreilach and Rusnák have combined for all three of RSL’s goals this season, including each getting one in the encounter with Colorado.

When head coach Adrian Heath was asked about the players he said:
“They’re top players, international players. Rusnák was at Manchester City as a kid. They went and found him in Slovakia so we know they got talent. Our games against them have been tight but most of the games, we could have won. I know it’s going to be tight on Friday but if we play like we can, we can go and win this game as well.”

Defender José Aja echoed that sentiment stating:
“No doubt, they have a great team, like all teams in MLS, all are really good and at even levels but we’re confident in our team and we know what we have to do to get the win.”

Tonight’s kickoff is set for 9:30 PM CT from the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. Which will keep the teams out of the near 100 degree heat but instead have them playing in temps that will hover around 80 during the match, but the humidity is expected to rise from around 78% (around kickoff) to 85% (near the matches end).

“I don’t think you ever can get used to 100 degree heat and humidity, whatever it is today. It’s the same for everybody and as I said to the players, this is about character as much as anything else. I’m sure the other coaches have said the same. Every day you come out, they tell you oh 100 degrees again, but you’ve got to come and work because that’s the nature of the game and they’ve come out and worked again. Do we get used to it? Probably not but it’s the same for both teams and we go again on Friday.” Heath said about the heat during training this past week.

While the heat is one thing, the kickoff is another. That doesn’t seem to bother or change Kevin Molino’s plans. He said when asked: “Normal. Same routine. I don’t have special routine I do; eat, get a lot of rest, I have to sleep a lot. And before the game, we do all the work on the drawing board so now it’s time to execute and you just go there, try and execute and work together as a team.”

Injury Report:

Minnesota United FC

  • Questionable: None
  • Out: Ike Opara (undisclosed)

Real Salt Lake

  • Questionable: M – N/A
  • Out: N/A

Minnesota United will play Real Salt Lake tonight at 9:30 PM CT on ESPN, ESPN Deportes, and TSN. Join our own Eli Hoff and Jacob Schneider with special guest Tom Bogert on Periscope at 8:30 PM CT for a one of a kind match preview.