When Minnesota United heads to the Seattle Sounders FC at 7 p.m. Sunday, it will be an immediate rematch for the Loons, who lost 4-0 at home back on Aug. 5.
And while United had two weeks to prepare for the back-to-back meetings, while Seattle beat Sporting Kansas City this past weekend, that extra time hasn't helped the squad in the past. This will be the second time United has had to face an opponent two consecutive times, as the Loons lost 3-0 at Kansas City on June 3 and then had 10 days to revamp before dropping 4-0 again June 14 in the U.S. Open Cup. And Kansas City, like Seattle, also had a match in between, a draw with the Montreal Impact.
But United coach Adrian Heath said he found specific aspects of the game to work on with that extra time that will help the Loons in their second go-round with the reigning MLS champions.
"I think one of the issues that you have sometimes when you play teams back-to-back, sometimes there's a carryover of one or two niggling incidents. But we haven't really had that," Heath said. "And I think the fact is that the games will be different. We know that one of the things I was really worried about with [Seattle] was their counter-attacking play with the players that they had at their disposal. Now, obviously, we'll approach the game in a slightly different manner, the fact that we're away from home, and we know how good they are on the counter attack."
Other notes: Both forward Christian Ramirez and midfielder Sam Cronin participated in practice Thursday. Heath said Ramirez is still day-to-day while Cronin has "come through [practice] OK." ... Heath said "you can safely assume" new addition Ethan Finlay will play against Seattle but declined to specifically say if the winger would start. ... MLS announced that it will allow a fourth substitution for postseason matches that go to extra time, the two 15-minute periods.