Preview: Last time out, Minnesota got its first victory against New York in nine tries. On Saturday, the Loons (5-3-5, fall season) look for their first fall season road victory in seven tries. Minnesota rides a five-match unbeaten streak, but the Cosmos (8-2-3) are 11-0-1 on the Shuart Stadium turf. “Someone’s got to go for it,” Minnesota coach Carl Craig said. “Why not us? We haven’t put a lot of goals in the net these past few games, but we’re a very tough team to beat right now.”
Players to watch: Minnesota’s lone goal last week came from Christian Ramirez, the North American Soccer League leader with 14 goals. Ramirez, who just missed a hat trick because of offside calls, “was as lively as I’d seen him in a while,” said Craig, who also noted the efforts of Jamie Watson and Lance Laing. “We’ve got guys playing with enthusiasm.” For New York, Juan Arango has scored four goals in the past three matches, moving his goal total to 11. The Cosmos welcome back Yasmani Duk, Andrés Flores, David Ochieng and Eric Calvillo from international duty.
Numbers: All nine matches between the teams have been decided by one goal or fewer. Only once has a team scored multiple goals in a game. Minnesota has scored only four goals in the past five matches. “A low-scoring game probably suits us better,” midfielder Aaron Pitchkolan said.
Decisions, decisions: Kevin Venegas returned from injury at Fort Lauderdale but did not see the field last week at home against Rayo OKC. “Whilst he looked fresh to run, he didn’t he look confident when he was out there,” Craig said. Venegas could play at New York. New signing Chris Klute, a defender on loan from the Portland Timbers of Major League Soccer, arrived Wednesday night and won’t make the New York trip. “Starting Monday morning he’ll be up for selection,” Craig said.
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