Minnesota United Sleepwalk Their Way to Scoreless Draw Against Real Salt Lake
Minnesota United FC played Real Salt Lake to a 0-0 draw in the MLS is Back tournament Friday night. That means I’m still perfect with my predictions…for the most part. Hopefully this didn’t turn off too many of you non-soccer fans.
we'll take a point… pic.twitter.com/y6CxX7adzf— Minnesota United FC (@MNUFC) July 18, 2020
While I initially predicted a 2-2 draw against our Mormon rivals, my prediction of the overall result still counts for something. Right? Games against RSL are always tight. This was reiterated by Loons manager Adrian Heath in his post-game press conference. See? I’m not totally insane.
The Loons came into Friday’s match looking to earn three points and guarantee a spot in the knockout round. With central defender and captain Ozzie Alonso back in the lineup, it was definitely a possibility.
THE WALKING DEAD
Both teams seemed to lack creativity through a rather listless first half. Think The Walking Dead, but somehow with more zombies. However, with under a minute left in added time in the half (yes, that’s a thing), Aaron Schoenfeld took a beautiful pass from Alonso into the box. Only for it to ricochet off the post.
Thankfully, Robin Lod was there for the rebound. But failed to get much power behind his header. Putting straight into Zach MacMath’s arms. The best scoring chance of the night? Wasted.
The second half was much of the same. Although United fans were treated to seeing young designated player Thomas Chacon make a rare appearance. They also got to see “guaranteed 25 goal scorer” Luis Amarilla. Unfortunately Chacon played dreadfully. He drew a yellow card, numerous fouls, and missed a scoring opportunity. But that was due to a better save more than anything. Amarilla however was nowhere to be seen.
EVERYTHING ON THE TABLE
What we learned from this match is what we have thought for some time. Lod can’t finish (missing both his scoring chances), creativity is relatively lacking, and depth is of relative concern.
Sitting with four points in the group, the Loons need a win to guarantee moving on. They still could advance if they lose against Colorado and RSL beats Kansas City. The Loons could also advance if they draw and either RSL wins or SKC completely obliterates them. Or they could even make it as a third-place team but that is so convoluted to predict that I’m not even going to go there.
WHAT COMES NEXT?
Personally, I predict a 3-1 win over the Colorado Rapids coming up on Wednesday. While that may be looking optimistic, I’m nearly perfect on predictions and the Rapids haven’t looked disciplined in their first two matches. Maybe I just jinxed the team. Hold on while I go vigorously knock on wood.
Heath will have his work cut out for him in the coming days. Hopefully nearly a full week off will allow him to draw up something successful. Especially now that Alonso has his feet back under him and should be able to contribute more in the next match.
I think a bit of credit(/blame) for such a nondescript game goes to the return of Ozzie Alonso. Having him there to nullify potential #RSL attacks so soon kept the game from getting stretched.#MNUFC missed him in the opener.— Jeff Rueter (@jeffrueter) July 18, 2020
The group is far from decided and a slew of players need to step up to their game. But if they do that, nothing can stop them from reaching my goal of reaching the quarterfinal. And while I’d love to see them win it all, this year has been so messy that I would take that finish.
Jack Kewitsch | Minnesota Sports Fan