Minnesota United FC at Colorado Rapids Preview
GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. - Back in 2017, Minnesota United faced two rough losses to open their inaugural season in MLS. In their third game they headed to Dick's Sporting Goods Park and eked out a 2-2 draw for their first MLS point. This year's Loons could certainly go for some of the same. With a classic sampler platter of results - 1-1-1 on the year - Colorado have looked good with two clean sheets, but not invulnerable, especially in a 3-1 loss to Austin FC. They have, however, showed an enviable level of defensive cohesion that MNUFC could do well to emulate. The Loons will need to clean up their mistakes at the back and produce better looks in the opponent's final third if they hope to set their season on the right track.
ADRIAN HEATH ON IMPROVEMENTS THAT NEED TO HAPPEN
"Overall, as I said, we need to be better in both boxes. We've identified certain areas that we think we can improve on, but ultimately we need to get everybody fit and healthy, I think that will help us. But more importantly, trying to keep the belief within the group, belief in what we're doing, belief in what we've done over the last two years is right and hopefully catch a break. But we know there's nobody coming with a magic wand. We've got to keep working hard on the training field, try and identify what we think is going wrong and rectify that."
HASSANI DOTSON ON THE MESSAGE FROM THE LEADERS IN THE LOCKER ROOM
"We're disappointed with the results but we have to focus on the next one and try not to let the past negative feelings affect this next opportunity to get our first point and hopefully our first win of the season. Also, [the leaders] do a great job of being in difficult spots before and move on to the next play and, I think, that's been pretty important for us young guys to look at after."
Now in their third year under Head Coach Robin Fraser, the Colorado Rapids have leaned into their identity as a young, hungry team built around up-and-coming players like 2019 Rookie of the Year Andre Shinyashiki, USYNT players Sam Vines and Jonathan Lewis, and homegrown standout Cole Bassett. Notably, though, the team only has one Designated Player currently in talented attacking midfielder Younes Namli. A year removed from being bounced in the first round of the playoffs by Minnesota United, the question of the season for Colorado will likely be whether the team as currently constituted is going to grow into a top-tier team or if they need to bring in DPs from outside to take it to the next level.
STORYLINE presented by BMW
COME AT THE KING YOU BEST MAKE HIM MISS: By just about every number other than the final score, Minnesota have not looked bad so far this season. They have outpossessed two teams and split it evenly with the third while taking the second-most shots in MLS this season (53). Unfortunately for them, they've only scored one goal so far. (At least Colorado has also only scored one goal as well.) More troubling is their poor rate of successful dribbles, given the way the team played last year. As Matt Doyle at MLSsoccer.com pointed out, MNUFC are once again third in dribbles attempted this year, but instead of being top ten in successful dribbles, they're 24th in the league. Starting midfielders Jan Gregus, Wil Trapp and Osvaldo Alonso have only completed three dribbles total. That inability to break down a defender and get to the next line has pulled Emanuel Reynoso farther up the pitch, making it more difficult for him to break the lines in turn. In short, the Loons don't so much need more possession per se as they need to do more with the possession they have. Watch for how the midfielders use the ball: If they can move it through the middle third smoothly and either make a defender miss or get it out to the fullbacks in stride, MNUFC will have a much easier time of it. [READ MORE]
FIRST TOUCHES: When Colorado defender Drew Moor was selected in the 2005 MLS SuperDraft, Minnesota's Patrick Weah was one year old. [READ MORE]
PLAYER AVAILABILITY REPORT:
I. Opara - undisclosed
N. Hansen - L thigh
B. Dibassy - L thigh
N. Kibunguchy - Concussion
R. Lod - Chest
J. Hayes - R thigh
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