Minnesota United FC vs Colorado Rapids
MLS Regular Season, Week 24
August 14, 2019 - 6:00 PM
Allianz Field - Saint Paul, Minnesota
Take the show on the road...
Spirits are mile high in Commerce City as the Rapids defeated the San Jose Earthquakes last Saturday by a score of 2-1. After suffering a 3-1 defeat to the same Quakes squad just two weeks prior, this win was another example of the resiliency and mindset that has defined this Rapids team this season.
Diego Rubio kept up his recent run of form by contributing to both Rapids goals, first providing a beautiful flick to assist Kellyn Acosta in the first half before burying the eventual game-winning strike in the 73rd minute off an assist by defender Keegan Rosenberry. That goal gives Rubio six in his last eight games with three coming in the last three affairs. Interim head coach Conor Casey evoked praise on the diligent preparation that begets the Chilean forward’s positive results. “He’s working so hard and that for me is the biggest thing. He comes in everyday and he gives you everything,” said Casey following the match.
Having picked up all six points in this recent two-game homestand, the team will now look to keep that momentum as they embark on a four-game road trip. First up is a Minnesota United squad that the Rapids have already proven their mettle against earlier this season, having secured a 1-0 victory when they played host on June 8.
Loons amidst a busy stretch...
Don’t let MNUFC’s (11-8-5, tied for third in MLS Western Conference) latest match result (a 5-3 loss to FC Dallas) fool you. The defeat broke a two-month unbeaten streak for the midwestern squad which had gone 5-2-0 in MLS play over that time period. The bright side? The last team to beat them prior to FCD was the Rapids.
The biggest concern for Minnesota fans has to be the fatigue level of their squad coming in to this midweek match. After securing their spot in the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup final last Wednesday with a 2-1 victory over Portland, Minnesota will be playing its fourth match in ten days. The grind doesn’t stop there, as the Loons will continue to play two games a week throughout the month of August. Last Saturday’s match against FC Dallas, in which coach Adrian Heath started nine different players compared to the Open Cup semifinal, may signal some squad rotations when they take on the Rapids.
One player that definitely won’t be featured is forward Mason Toye, a 20-year-old prospective USMNT player has been one of MNUFC’s biggest weapons. The seventh pick in the 2018 MLS SuperDraft has had an up-and-down week. Up: Scoring the game-winner against Portland in the Open Cup semifinals. Down: Receiving a red card and suspension for an altercation with Reggie Cannon of FC Dallas.
Despite these unfavorable conditions, there’s a reason Minnesota is firmly established in playoff positioning and remains a threat to knock the Rapids down a peg. They’re one of the best in the league when playing at home (7-1-4 at Allianz Field). Their Designated Player, forward Darwin Quintero, is having another productive season with seven goals and five assists through 21 games. And there’s always the extra motivation that comes with hosting a team that you lost to earlier in the season.
What to watch for...
Connor Cape, Radio Play-by-Play Announcer
In perhaps the most crucial two-game stretch of the season, the Rapids stepped up to the challenge and collected all six possible points from the homestand against Montreal and San Jose. Every player mentioned how massive these games would be, and everybody delivered.
Even better is how it was done. Set pieces catapulted Colorado to six goals against Montreal and two goals from outside the box was enough to get past San Jose. The multidimensional attack will be needed as a four-game road trip begins in Minnesota. While the Rapids defeated MNUFC in the first match, this will be the first-ever trip to the new Allianz Field in St. Paul. Set the tone for the road trip, find a way to get a result.
Jordan Angeli, Radio Analyst
The Rapids did a great job of picking up important points these past two weekends and need to ride that wave of momentum as they head into a midweek game vs Minnesota United FC. The first time the Rapids will play at the brand new home of the Loons. For the Rapids, it will be important to stay compact defensively and continue to use the speed they have on the break to get at Minnesota United in transition. The combination between Kamara and Rubio is something to watch for as both are in great scoring form as of late. Set pieces will once again be key for the Rapids with service away from Minnesotas free drifting player Boxall who is solid in the air. Service toward the near post space, especially on corner kicks, could cause issues for MNUFC. Minnesota has a few different attacking options they can go with and have been switching it up in this busy spell of games. As mentioned above, they will be without Toye, but another player with the willingness to break the line has been Ethan Finlay. If he starts, he will most likely line up against Vines on the right side and likes to use his pace to stretch in behind. The Rapids backline will need to be aware of that threat and that Finlay is full of confidence with three goals in the Loons last two MLS fixtures.