Image: Minnesota United
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For some reason, the Major League Soccer schedule is once again playing through an international break this month, and Minnesota United are one of the clubs getting the shorter end of the roster stick.
Adrian Heath confirmed this week the Loons will be without six total players, five starters, for their March 25th match vs. Vancouver Whitecaps.
Robin Lod (Finland), Michael Boxall (New Zealand), Bongokuhle Hlongwane (South Africa), Kervin Arriaga and Joseph Rosales (Honduras), and Dayne St. Clair (Canada) will all be off on international duty when the rest of the club returns to Allianz Field.
Even with that hurdle ten days away, Heath also hinted his roster decisions this weekend in Colorado may be done with the following match in mind, with players who will be needed to replace the absences more likely to get a rest to avoid picking up unnecessary knocks or injuries.
This points to guys like Hassani Dotson and Tani Oluwaseyi potentially getting the night off, and returning center back depth piece Brent Kallman possibly waiting an extra game before making his return.
This means, of course, Heath rolls the dice and plays all the starters a full 90 before their international holiday, or he goes with less-proven subs off the bench.
This presents a potential breakthrough or breakdown scenario for Minnesota.
Both the Rapids and Whitecaps have looked particularly vulnerable in the early going. If Heath can pull the right strings and make the right lineup choices, Minnesota could hop this early-season hurdle and continue their positive run of form they’ve begun the season with.
On the other hand, if the Loons drop points in both matches by not playing their full strength 90-minute squad in either, that could be a huge halt to the momentum they’ve built thus far in 2023.
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The Loons Daily newsletter is written by Jeremy Rushing and presented by Sota Soccer, your home for soccer coverage in the North! If you could, please consider supporting our work at Patreon.com/sotasoccer