Minnesota United Stats
2020 Record: 9-7-5 WLT, 34 points for 1.61 PPG
2021 Record: 0-3-0
Goals: 1 for, 7 allowed, -6 differential
Power Rankings: Minnesota #24 (-3), Rapids #20 (+2)
Last Result: 0-1 loss against Austin FC
The Colorado Rapids got their first win of the season! That’s good! But we’ve only scored two goals so far this season. That’s bad. But we’ve kept two clean sheets in three games! That’s good! But we let in three goals in the span of 11 minutes. That’s not good. But we’re playing Minnesota this weekend, who still hasn’t gotten a single point over three games. That’s good! But Minnesota slapped us out of the playoffs with a devastating 3-0 smackdown. That’s not good. As we look to build off of the win from last weekend, how do our second home opponents look?
Minnesota is in the unenviable position of being the only team yet to earn a single point this season. Even Cincinnati FC with a -8 goal differential from three games has at least tied one of their games. This is, to say the least, a shocking result from a team that was considered the constant underdogs of MLS in the last year.
The story of the 2021 MNU team really starts in *checks notes* 2020, actually. They qualified for the playoffs for the first time in franchise history and went up against the Burgundy Boys. They showed up and won big. Then went up against Sporting Kansas City and beat them 3-0, too. In the conference semifinals, they played the Seattle Sounders, and would have pulled off the win if not for a surprising three-goal comeback from the Sounders. All in all, a 2020 season to be proud of. So, entering 2021, expectations were high. They might have started to shake that ‘underdog’ title.
Entering the offseason, Minnesota had a fairly significant amount of churn. They lost Kevin Molino, whose absence has definitely been felt in the meantime. They lost ex-Rapids forward Kei Kamara, who ironically they might need right now to find the back of the net.
Overall, they were losing players from a position of strength, not weakness. The majority of players they turned down were in a situation where their contract options were declined. In turn, they signed a few SuperDraft players, Patrick Weah — cousin of USMNT player Tim Weah — as a homegrown player and made a few trades inside of MLS. They also signed a pair of forwards, one on loan from Boca Juniors and another from Stade Rennais. In particular, Ramon Abila was expected to pair with DP Emanuel Reynoso to make Minnesota a major threat offensively. Again, on paper, an improvement.
They were ranked a whopping fifth in the power rankings prior to the start of the season. They had Reynoso for the full season, the team was pretty healthy, and they were going to presumably put the pedal to the metal right away. Instead, they started in a playoff rematch against Seattle — and lost 4-0. That’s fine, Seattle’s a good team, especially at home. Then, they played RSL at home… and lost, 2-1. Okay, not great. Then, Austin came to their door and walked away with another three points (don’t we know what that’s like…) and left Minnesota being the only team with not a single point over three games this season.
Pundits have talked about what’s going on with them. On paper, they’re much better than this. But thanks to a weak central midfield, Reynoso not quite being on his game, and being weak in their dribbling success, they haven’t been good in practice. It isn’t a foregone conclusion that they’re doomed to disappointment, but they aren’t starting the season well.
Here’s the deal. We know what it is like to be in that mental state. It can be devastating for a team. But, their loss is our gain. If we keep the pressure up, get a goal or two in, then we can capitalize on that and get another three points. Austin was a disappointing result, but it is only a single game. Easy to turn things around. Get revenge for last year’s playoff game, and we can make sure that Minnesota stays the only team without points after week four.