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Preview: MNUFC looks to win 2nd straight at home in rematch with FC Dallas

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10 days ago the teams battled in near 110 degree Texas heat. Tonight the teams will kick off in 50 degree Minnesota fall weather.

Ashle Norling/E Pluribus Loonum

After a brutal streak of four straight losses for Minnesota United, the Loons finally got their first win and points since Orlando on Sunday night at home against Real Salt Lake. But after just two off days between matches MNUFC will hit the pitch again tonight against FC Dallas. This is the second time the two teams have faced off, both within one and a half weeks as part of Phase One of the MLS’ resumed season.

Performance to this Point:

MNUFC comes into tonight’s match with a huge win under their belts in their last match. The Loons dominated RSL, winning 4-0, on Sunday night at Allianz Field to break a 4 match losing streak. Across all competitions the Loons are 1-4-0 in their last five matches, however for just MLS regular season matches they are 1-3-1. Even with that losing streak MNUFC is still fighting near the top of the Western Conference, currently sitting at third with a 4-3-2 record and 14 points. With 14 games left until the playoffs anything can happen but Minnesota does look in a good spot to make the 2020 Audi MLS Cup Playoffs, provided they don’t hit another losing streak and scoring drought.

FC Dallas on the other hand comes to St. Paul in the opposite situation from MNUFC in literally almost every single way. FCD comes in off a 1-1 away draw to Sporting Kansas City last Wednesday night. Unlike the Loons their last 5 matches haven’t been terrible, but just ok, going 1-1-3 in that span. The only win in their last 5, was against Minnesota in Frisco. And while MNUFC is fighting near the top of the West, Dallas is fighting just to be in the playoffs. Currently sitting in 9th place of the 12 team Western Conference, FCD’s 2-1-4 record gives them just 10 points on the season. Dallas does have 16 games left to play, so while there near the bottom of the West now those extra games could help them in the long run.

Manager Thoughts:

The struggles of recent for Minnesota United have been well documented, Adrian Heath knows that his team didn’t start Phase One off very well. Two home games in the last three matches of Phase One should help the team. Being at home is a huge importance in MLS and for MNUFC it means even more since they have only played two home matches in 12 competitive games in 2020.

“Well, it will be if we get a result tomorrow. We didn’t do ourselves justice in the opener against Kansas [City], but it could have gone either way that game. I thought we were worthy winners at the weekend, we have to do the same tomorrow night. We know it’s going to be a difficult game. Got a lot of respect for Luchi [Gonzalez] and his coaching staff, I think they do a really good job. Young team, plenty of energy so it’s going to be a tough challenge for us, but one if we approach it properly and meet it head on, do what we’re good at, we can win the game.”

Minnesota United is dealing with injuries as we all know but so is FC Dallas.

“We have to just keep moving forward, and that’s what having a full roster and team is all about,” coach Luchi Gonzalez said to MLSsoccer.com and FCDallas.com. “We’ve got a very competitive team. I’d say we have two to three players in every position. And that’s what we’re all about. We’re planning on having guys step up now.”

One bonus for FC Dallas is the fact that, if necessary, they can draw players up from their USL League One side, North Texas SC.

Players to Watch:

Without question after his performance last Sunday, midfielder Robin Lod is going to be MNUFC’s player to watch tonight. Lod managed 5 shots, 2 on target, both of those translated into goals, and he drew one foul while committing none against Real Salt Lake. Lod had probably his overall best appearance for the Loons on Sunday night, and while Lod has been criticized for his play in the past, there was none last weekend, and the man himself was happy with his and the teams play.

“I mean, we played a really great game as a team, it was a really good team effort for us. We had a tough couple of games away and now we get back to a home game and we showed we can rebound from the tough losses. So, it was a really good effort from the whole team.”

As for someone to watch for FCD? Well I really can’t pick just one, in fact I’m going to say their entire back line as it is the core of their defensive effort. Why am I picking the anchor of FCD’s defense? Well it has to do with blocked shots. Sporting Kansas City had a total of 22 shots against FCD last week, an honest absurd amount. While SKC had 5 off target, Dallas managed to block a whopping 14 shots on the road last week. It’s definitely a lot but is not out of the ordinary; in fact FCD blocked six shots in their last meeting with MNUFC.

Injury Report:

Minnesota United FC

  • Questionable: None
  • Out: Ike Opara, Tyler Miller, Aaron Schoenfeld, Ethan Finlay, Luis Amarilla, and Ozzie Alonso

FC Dallas

  • Questionable: None
  • Out: Paxton Pomykal, Fafa Picault, Jimmy Maurer, Matt Hedges, and Bryan Acosta

Minnesota United will play FC Dallas tonight at 7:00 PM CT on FOX Sports North and SKOR North. If you are out of market you can also catch the match via MLS Live on ESPN+ (US) or MLS Live on DAZN (Canada).