Undefeated in 2022 Minnesota United host the Seattle Sounders at 5:08 PM Saturday evening. It’s hard to call the two sides rivals, as the Sounders have dominated the series 8-1-1 since the Loons joined MLS. That’s not to say Adrian Heath’s team are pushovers, it’s just that Seattle keeps getting in the way of success.
A wrinkle to this first match after the triple-international break (for Concacaf) is that the Sounders have their eyes on a bigger prize than a single game in St. Paul. Brian Schmetzer has used fairly heavy rotation due to injury and the Concacaf Champions League. That injury bug seems to be clear — only Yeimar is out, and the only other injured player is third keeper Andrew Thomas. The next CCL match is against NYCFC on April 6 at Lumen Field.
It’s still just matchday five. Wins now mean as much as wins later, for sure. And losses don’t matter quite as much because there will still be time to win after taking a trophy.
For e pluribus loonum, Ashle answers Three Questions.
SaH: Luis Amarilla seems to be fitting in perfectly now that he’s a permanent Loon. Remind us what his playing style is, as his loan stint was during the season most impacted by the pandemic.
epl: I think from what I have seen he’s absolutely a forward pushing striker. Most of his goals came within a few yards of the 6-yard box. With the playing style of the team changing and the forward more necessary, I think Amarilla will be a much better fit this go around.
SaH: Is Hassani Dotson the key to the ‘22 midfield working how Heath wants?
epl: I would normally genuinely say yes, but his utilisation has been as a jack-of-all-trades. Through four starts he’s played RDM and RD twice each this season. I do think he is the centrepiece to how the Loons lineups can be so versatile depending on their needs.
SaH: Are Minnesota United now a slow tempo team that is supposed to win 1-0, or is that just the early season?
epl: I don’t think that is the early season, at least in my view. The Loons have always struggled for possession and had to hold off the attack longer than they were on the attack. I think this is just an evolution of trying to get the play forced more in the midfield and if possible to keep the ball in the forward third and hold it there.