United FC gameday
7 P.M. VS. CAROLINA • NSC STADIUM • Ch. 45
Preview: Saturday’s showdown features teams on different ends of a playoff push. Minnesota (5-2-4) sits solidly in third place in the combined standings and second in the fall season standings. The RailHawks (3-6-3) are four points off a playoff spot.
United FC at a glance: Minnesota rides a five-match unbeaten streak and passed the North American Soccer League consecutive scoring record last week with at least one goal in the past 19 matches. However, late goals allowed have cost Minnesota crucial points. The team has conceded 18 of 28 goals in the second half, including nine in the final 10 minutes of play. “Some of the soccer we’ve played recently has been very good,” Minnesota captain Aaron Pitchkolan said. “We’re hoping to build on that and get better at not allowing the late goals.” Minnesota signed midfielder Manuel Alejandro Vela Garrido, a veteran of several top clubs in Mexico’s Liga MX. He is available to make his debut Saturday. And in fashion news, Minnesota will be wearing its new alternate kit for the first time.
Carolina at a glance: The RailHawks enter the match coming off a 3-3 draw with San Antonio. Leading scorers Nacho Novo (eight goals) and Tiyi Shipalane (five) each found the back of the net against the Scorpions. Former Minnesota players Neil Hlavaty and Connor Tobin play big minutes for Carolina. “They’ve got dangerous players who can take over a game,” United midfielder Greg Jordan said. “It’s going to be about a collective effort to shut those guys down.”
DAVID LA VAQUE