Image: Minnesota United
Minnesota United FC played FC Dallas to a 0-0 draw at home Sunday evening at Allianz Field. It was the two sides’ second meeting this season after MNUFC stole all three points on opening day in Frisco in a 1-0 victory.
Here are my three takeaways from Sunday night’s action:
A point is a point
The biggest thing MNUFC can take away from Sunday night is that their losing streak has been snapped and they earned a point in a match against a Western Conference playoff contender. Of course the Loons would have liked to earn three points at home for the first time this season, but they have to be content with a point because that could be the deciding factor come the end of the season.
FC Dallas are a very good team and even without Alan Velasco, they were causing issues. To keep a clean sheet against a top attacking side who still had both Paul Arriola and Jesus Ferreira should be commended. The Loons are the ONLY team to shut them out this season and they’ve now done it twice – it’s impressive from the defense.
Loons need to re-find an ID (play the 4-4-2)
This was a main topic of conversation in our Post Loons podcast Sunday evening, but Minnesota United looks lifeless in the attack when playing in the 4-2-3-1. It worked for so long when they had an actual central attacking midfielder in Emanuel Reynoso. The Argentine was able to control the entire tempo of the match from the middle of the pitch to the attacking end of it. However, sans Reynoso, they don’t have anyone with that skillset on their roster.
Sang Bin Jeong can play the 10, he can rock that role and the Loons can build around him. What they can’t do, though, is assume he plays the same role that Reynoso did in that spot – and it feels like that’s the expectation at the moment.
When MNUFC switched to the 4-4-2 formation in the 70th minute Sunday evening, they looked more composed as a group than they did in the 70 minutes prior. It might be time to try the two up top from the start (again) and test the South Korean attacker at a forward position while playing off of Luis Amarilla.
Amarilla’s working, but goals have to come
As things stand, the Loons haven’t scored a goal in MLS from open play with a striker since Mender Garcia’s header off a Zarek Valentin cross on March 25; five games.
Luis Amarilla has two goals, both of which are penalties, so far this season while Garcia also has two, both from open play. In short, neither forward has been relatively prolific and neither forward has shown why they should be considered the starting number nine for the Loons
However, what can be noted is Amarilla’s work rate Sunday evening. He was everywhere for the Loons, including in stoppage time late when he was seen sprinting to stop an FCD counter later in the match. You can see he makes the space, holds up the ball and looks for the support around him but nobody appears to be on the same page. His performance Sunday evening is another reason why the 4-4-2 poses an intriguing option for the club. With a second striker playing off of him, his hold up play and size may benefit someone like Sang Bin or Garcia in that role.