Game: Minnesota United FC vs. Philadelphia Union
Date: Saturday, September 9th
Time: 8:00 p.m. Eastern, 7:00 p.m. Central, 5:00 p.m. Pacific, 12:00 a.m. UTC
Venue: TCF Bank Stadium (Minneapolis, Minn.)
Referees: REF: SORIN STOICA, AR1: Claudiu Badea, AR2: Daniel Belleau, 4TH: Alejandro Mariscal, VAR: Edvin Jurisevic
Television: CSN Philadelphia (Philadelphia market), My29 WFTC (Minneapolis-St. Paul market)
This will be the first meeting between the two teams.
What Minnesota will look like
Bad. Minnesota (7W 14L 4D)’s first season in Major League Soccer has been a school of hard knocks. Thankfully for them they’re in the same division as the Colorado Rapids (6W 16L 4D) so they’re not the absolute worst team. D.C. United (-22) also somehow has a worse goal differential than the Loons (-20).
Don’t be fooled though. Minnesota is an even 6W 6L 2D at home and is coming off of a surprise victory against the Chicago Fire in Illinois - their first road win of the season. To underestimate a weak opponent is to give them the upper hand.
Minnesota usually goes with the MLS standard issue 4-2-3-1, with former New England Revolution goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth in net. The Loons have some quality players, with eleven players playing on six different national teams (United States, Jamaica, Norway, Denmark, Costa Rica, and New Zealand). It’s been rare however that it all comes together like it did against Chicago.
Minnesota yielded possession to Chicago in a roughly 40/60 split and allowed the Fire to punch themselves out. Chicago had 20 shots however only 4 were on target while Minnesota blocked 5. Minnesota was able to convert both of Abu Danladi’s shots on goal, which was the difference in the match.
What Philadelphia will look like
Bad. Both Alejandro Bedoya and Josh Yaro are suspended for the match, the former for yellow card accumulation and the latter for a straight red card on a denial of a goal scoring opportunity against Atlanta United the last time out. Look for Derrick Jones or Warren Creavalle to start at the eight next to Haris Medunjanin while either Oguchi Onyewu or Richie Marquez starts in place of Yaro.
It will also be interesting to see who starts at the 10 for the Union. Last time out it was Roland Alberg, whose 54 minute outing was a successful one as he scored a goal in the 18th minute of play. Ilsinho is also available for selection, so it may come down to who Jim Curtin thinks lines up better against MNUFC.
What to expect
The Union need a win to keep their very dim playoff hopes alive. With the past month’s worth of results weighing heavily (3-0 losses to the Montreal Impact and Toronto FC sandwiching a 2-2 draw against the San Jose Earthquakes that saw Yaro commit an awful foul in the box in stoppage to surrender the lead as well as the draw against Atlanta) this will be a complete gut check for the team. The Union can and perhaps should win this match, but as with everything else about this season nothing should be taken for granted.