Real Salt Lake are away to Minnesota United FC. It’s a fixture that could give any RSL fan some anxiety. In the ten times these two teams have met, RSL have won only once, which was at home. We turned to Ashle Norling of E Pluribus Loonum to learn more about to expect from Minnesota United. In addition to soccer questions, Ashle also informed me that “E Pluribus Loonum” is play on the Latin phrase “E pluribus unum”, which means “Out of many, one”. And it directly translates to “Many Loons”, which is fantastic.
1. What moves did Minnesota make this offseason to help them improve over an impressive 2020?
I am not really sure if there were. The Loons off seasons have traditionally been quiet with player acquisitions and this was no different. We had a solid defense and midfield along with a stout set of goalkeepers so our issue to overcome was up top with a Striker/Forward. Minnesota did pick up Ramón Ábila on loan from Boca Juniors, but that just happened 10 days before the season and he came off the bench to replace Ethan Finlay while Robin Lod started up top. Andy Greder of the Pioneer Press reported that MNUFC is expected to pick up Adrian Hunou for about $3.6 million, however that has not happened as of yet, so we’re still waiting to solve that last key issue.
2. Which players are the most dangerous in MNUFC’s attack?
Probably at this point Robin Lod is our biggest threat. Lod really came into his own last year and seeing him improve so much in such a short amount of time has been fantastic. While we may not have a true forward right now, Robin Lod is our best option and there was a reason that Heath started him up top against Seattle. He scored 7 goals and had 5 assists last season putting him only behind Kevin Molino in goals in 2020 and sat him third in assists. Outside Lod we also have good threats with Greguš, Reynoso, and Finlay. All three were either top three in goals scored or assists for us last year. With a full season ahead I am really looking forward to how well all four of these men can shine in 2021.
3. What went wrong in their 4-0 loss to the Sounders and how does the team bounce back?
In short everything possible in the second half. MNUFC is traditionally not very good against Seattle, in fact I think they are 0-6-1 all time against the Sounders. But the reality is I really can’t point out just one thing, the Loons stopped pressing the Sounders which they were able to start to exploit holes in the defense. Seattle was on the ropes for the first 45 minutes and then in five minutes the entire complexation of the match changed. In order to bounce back, we have to give Dayne some support both in front of his goal, not screen him with our own defenders, and give him some offensive support. Minnesota is 4-1-4 all time against RSL and has outscored them 16-8 in those matches so it’s the perfect match to bounce back.
Our responses to E Pluribus Loonum’s questions here.