Where: TCF Bank Stadium, Minneapolis, Minn.
When: Sunday, July 22nd, 4 pm PT.
How to watch: YouTube TV, UniMás 46 in Los Angeles blackout region; ESPN+ in the rest of the United States.
As Los Angeles Football Club keep winning, and keep drawing good crowds at home, they are compared a lot to Atlanta United, an expansion team that joined MLS the year before and took the league by storm.
Both teams hit the ground running, they play fast exciting soccer, and they have young stars and MLS veterans that drove the team forward and allowed them to be successful right away.
Then there was another expansion that entered the league with Atlanta United last year, and that was Minnesota United.
The Loons were in many ways the opposite of Atlanta United, no real young stars of note, not the exciting style of play on the field, and no run to the playoffs.
Minnesota struggled, especially defensively. But, they did pick up their play in the second half of the season. This year has been similar, the Loons struggled in the beginning of the season, but they have picked up their play as of late.
Minnesota is currently below the playoff line, but they are only five points away from 4th in the West.
Minnesota United has been boosted by the arrival of Darwin Quintero. Quintero has hit the ground running since his arrival from Club América. Quintero has averaged 1.1 goals and assists since June. That is the 5th highest average among players who have made at least five appearances since then.
Quintero has pace, skill, and an ability to not get knocked off the ball. It will be key for LAFC to contain his runs, and not allow him to get out into space.
Miguel Ibarra and Christian Ramirez are other dangerous attackers for the Loons. Ibarra has good combination play, and is a late arriver in the box to finish chances off. Ramirez is a classic No. 9, and with all the focus on Quintero, he might find space and the ability to get off good scoring chances.
On the other side of the ball, while Minnesota United has been better defensively, they are not exactly solid on that end, and a lot less defensively sound then LAFC’s last opponents, the Portland Timbers.
Expect LAFC to be able to bring their attacking weight to bear against Minnesota. This could also be a game that sees Carlos Vela put in another performance that matches his highs with LAFC pre-World Cup.
It will also be interesting to see if Andre Horta makes his debut in this match. LAFC’s midfield has been performing very well lately. Then again, they did not bring Andre Horta in so he can sit on the bench.
Prediction: LAFC 2, Minnesota United 2. There are goals in this match, but neither team is able to emerge victorious.
What do you think? Leave a comment below!