Image: Minnesota United
The Loons suffered an embarrassing 3-0 loss against Sporting Kansas City Saturday evening at Children’s Mercy Park. Peter Vermes’ side earned their first home win of the season – just their second overall of the campaign.
Minnesota United now has a quick turnaround before they host the Houston Dynamo Wednesday evening at Allianz Field.
Here are my three biggest takeaways from Saturday’s action.
Congestion is Just Beginning
MNUFC are set to play an egregious amount of soccer over the next month. Counting in the contest from Saturday evening, the Loons will play eight matches in 28 days, with that averaging out to a match every 3.5 days.
Tired legs are going to happen quicker than expected and rotation is going to be needed. The “B” team is going to be called upon more than they have this campaign and an opportunity will be presented for players like Joseph Rosales, Mikael Marques and Cameron Dunbar.
That also includes veterans and important players in poor form like Wil Trapp, Luis Amarilla, Robin Lod and Mender Garcia. Those four players in particular have been unexpectedly poor in recent weeks, but with the amount of matches coming up, opportunity presents itself to find form.
Sang Bin and Bongi Deserve Another Chance
The 3-5-2 showed promise in the Open Cup, but it was a disaster in Kansas City Saturday night. That doesn’t mean a back three or back five isn’t the best way to get positive results out of this group, but it needs to be narrowed down and players need to understand their roles.
The most positive takeaway from Saturday was, however, the striker pairing of Hlongwane and Sang Bin. It would be interesting to see what that duo looks like in a 4-4-2 with a bit more support up top around them, but i’d imagine we don’t see that happening anytime soon.
Sang Bin consistently starting as the 9 for the Loons might be the best option moving forward, however.
Reynoso’s Road Ahead
The Loons could have used a player like Reynoso Saturday evening, but that wasn’t an option. The Argentine is, however, back with the club. Here’s what the coming weeks ahead look like:
He is still suspended by Major League Soccer. There is no change there. Here’s Adrian Heath’s statement on the midfielder postgame in KC.
“No. At this moment, Rey [Emanuel Reynoso] is still suspended by the league. He’s training. He’s doing two and three a day sessions. I don’t know when that will be cleared and then it’s a case of how long is it going to take him to get up to speed to play a game. I don’t know the answer to that, but he’s got to get cleared first before we can start integrating him in the group. We hope that will be sooner rather than later.”
There are still obstacles to overcome for the midfielder. He has not played a regular season match or even trained at the level of an MLS club since October 2022. His fitness levels are going to need to be raised to even make the bench right now.
Even after he’s fit enough to play, he has to fight his way back into the XI. As it stands, he’s lost the trust and love of a lot of the group, with club veterans like Wil Trapp and Dayne St. Clair repeated over the past few weeks that their only focus and thoughts are on the players that are “here” in Minnesota.
In short, there’s a process here. Let’s be patient and see what happens.