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Match Preview: Minnesota United FC vs. Seattle Sounders FC

by on 4 August 2018

Minnesota United return to TCF Bank Stadium to face the in-form Seattle Sounders. Seattle comes into this match undefeated in its last five games. Minnesota have a three-game winning streak at home, and will hope to return to that form after being dismantled by Vancouver last week at BC Place.

Previous meeting

Seattle beat up on Minnesota at Century Link Stadium for its first win of the MLS season. Early goals from Gustav Svensson and Will Bruin set the tone for the Sounders. Minnesota was able to pull one back in the second half through Christian Ramirez’s first goal of the season. Minnesota’s comeback bid ended with a Jordy Delem goal in time added on.

Officials

Referee Drew Fisher
Assistant Joe Fletcher
Assistant Felisha Mariscal
Fourth Joseph Dickerson
VAR Katja Koroleva

Roster report

Minnesota United
OUT:
D – Jérôme Thiesson (right lower leg)
M – Sam Cronin (cervicogenic dysfunction)
M – Ethan Finlay (right ACL tear)
M – Maximiano (right knee)
M – Kevin Molino (left ACL tear)

Seattle Sounders
OUT:
F – Jordan Morris (ACL tear)
M – Handwalla Bwana (right midfoot sprain)

Tactical outlook

Seattle has turned its season around and is currently in great form, undefeated in the last five games. All signs point to the midfield as the reason for this turnaround. Players like Cristian Roldan, Svensson, and Nico Lodeiro have catapulted this team back into form after a dreadful first half of the season.

Unfortunately for Minnesota, the 3-5-2 has looked weakest in the midfield. Against Vancouver, Minnesota was overrun once the Whitecaps scored and, during the first 20 minutes of the match against LAFC, the Loons could barely string two passes together. In the wins against Toronto and Salt Lake, Minnesota nearly gave up the lead because they were pinned deep and were unable to work the ball out through the midfield.

So, how do the Loons address this problem? At some point you have to look at the personnel the Loons put on the field. The midfield three for the past few games have been Ibson, Collen Warner, and Rasmus Schüller. Warner, playing the number six role, has been serviceable at home, but was dreadful away to Vancouver. Ibson is scoring goals which, don’t get me wrong, is good, but he has practically assisted on opponent’s goals three times this season, which is not good. Schüller managed to score his first MLS goal last home game, but he still looks gassed around the 70th minute in almost every match. With Maximiano out with injury, the only player that I think can come into the midfield and shore up defensively, while providing some quality going forward, is Francisco Calvo. Sub in Calvo for Ibson and bring Wyatt Omsberg into the back three. Calvo is not as creative going forward as Ibson, but he does not have to be. That is what Darwin Quintero is there for. The Costa Rican international provides more defensively in the midfield as well and, if Minnesota manage to grab a lead, he can help tighten things down further up the pitch..

Seattle will win if…

Raúl Ruidíaz can build off of his strong start. Seattle has been lacking up front since the injury to Jordan Morris and the decline of Clint Dempsey. Ruidíaz, a Peruvian international, scored on his debut for the club and was a catalyst for Seattle’s offense against San Jose.

Minnesota will win if…

they can lock down defensively. Seattle has not been that strong going forward this season. Until their latest win over NYCFC, Josef Martínez had more goals than the Sounders. It may be a tall ask for the inconsistent Loons defense, but this is a chance for them to get their second clean sheet of the season.


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