The records might say that Minnesota United and Seattle Sounders aren’t close. A history of 7-0-1 against the Loons makes Seattle seem dominant, and that was true in their last meeting. That 4-0 win is deceiving. United aren’t that bad, and they also added attacking talent since that drubbing.
Now 7th in the West after a seven-match unbeaten run that ended with a 2-0 loss to Colorado, Minnesota’s bifurcated early 2021 caused Sounders coaches to only review the last handful of matches and not the full season. The new players and recent trends are more important than that 4-0 loss.
For E Pluribus Loonum, Ashle answers Three Questions.
SaH: There are two late additions getting significant time this season. Both have added some oomph to the attack. Let’s give them their own space, because they’re that important. What’s does Ramón Ábila add to the Loons?
EPL: I’m not gonna lie, I wasn’t sold on Ábila initially and it took me a while to warm up to him. Granted I don’t follow much of South American or international soccer, but his performances at the start of the season seemed a bit lacklustre. Since that match against Austin though, he has not started and has only come on as a late sub, which seems much better suited for him. Ábila absolutely can put shots on net and show himself as a semi-dangerous striker, which has been a much needed change. However — and this is a problem that MNUFC has consistently had with strikers — is he is not a leading goalscorer and has trouble actually putting numbers on the board.
SaH: Adrien Hunou?
EPL: Hunou I was honestly less sold on, even looking at the acquisition as a bad move entirely. He didn’t have impressive numbers in Ligue 1, scoring only 36 goals in 160 appearances with Stade Rennais. So I really didn’t think it was a good idea, even moreso factoring in the reported $3.6 million transfer fee. But he has at least partially proven me wrong, as he is a huge punch for our attack as is sitting with 18 shots over six matches (3 shots/match), two goals, and 3.6 xG. I’m really hoping to see more of the attack unlocked and see how well Hunou can really do, but again strikers and forwards have never been MNUFC’s strong suit, no matter how good they are.
SaH: What’s the feeling among Minnesota fans about Alonso fading to a rotational player? Is he key to United making a playoff run?
EPL: There really isn’t much I can say about this to be honest. I haven’t seen much if anything surrounding it on Twitter (maybe I’m not in deep enough). I thought it was weird at first, but considering the depth of the midfield (which seems to always be MNUFC’s strength) I can understand him becoming a rotational depth player.
Check out the reverse when it goes up at E Pluribus Loonum.