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Downstream Game 28: Away vs Minnesota United FC

MLS: Minnesota United FC at Colorado Rapids Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Minnesota United FC Stats

2021 Record: 10-9-8 WLT, 38 points for 1.41 PPG

Goals: 30 for, 32 allowed, -2 differential

Power Rankings: MIN #12 (-3), Rapids #7 (-2)

Last Result: 0-0 tie at Dallas

The Colorado Rapids resume play after a surprisingly rare case of no midweek games, but coming off of a rough match against the Seattle Sounders. We went a full 12 games unbeaten, which means the Burgundy Boys have spent almost a third of the season without a loss consecutively. As we head into the final stretch of the season, the Rapids are going north to Allianz Field to play against the Loons. What should we expect from this Sunday’s matchup?

Minnesota is good. That’s about the best you can say for them. Not great, not terrible. Just good. They’re kind of good on goals for, pretty good for goals against. They sit squarely in the middle of the pack at 7th in the Western Conference, just above the playoff line. They’re much better at home than on the road, which is basically to be expected. It is just so… fine. Nothing feels very outstanding from them, including their recent run of form, with a win, a loss, and a tie all in the last three.

We’ll be playing in the middle of the international break, so the Rapids will play without Kellyn Acosta and Mark Anthony Kaye. The good news is that the red card on Lucas Esteves has been rescinded by DisCo, so he’ll be available against MNUFC. Meanwhile, the Loons will be down five players — four for international call-ups: Michael Boxall, Robin Lod, Jukka Raitala, and Romain Metanire. So neither team will be at their strongest.

Who is worse off? Well, by numbers, Minnesota have lost more players. But, it’s hard to say that, given how important Acosta and Kaye have been to the midfield.

You can’t exactly say that Minnesota is in a bad situation, but spots 5-8 in the conference are pretty tight. Two points separate them, with the seven and eight spots having a game in hand. They’re fighting off Vancouver Whitecaps, the LA Galaxy, and our archenemies Real Salt Lake. Minnesota is getting scrappy. They need every point they can get to steer clear of dropping below the playoff line. Meanwhile, the Rapids are doing well enough, but more points would keep us in good standing to host a playoff match and keep back the threatening Portland Timbers.

In a weird way, losing against Seattle might end up being good for us. We had a long run of ties, and suddenly our placement in the conference is at stake. It’s easy to think that the team should settle for a draw, so long as it keeps the streak alive. But the mentality of the team should focus on winning. Don’t settle for just a tie. Minnesota could be getting real scrappy here as they look to make it into the playoffs. Capitalize on their mistakes, push for a win, and make this early Sunday game a good one.