Of the 22 Major League Soccer teams, only one has a worse record than Minnesota United.
So the Saturday night match with D.C. United at TCF Bank Stadium should be a sure thing for the Loons.
United (5-12-4) is last place in the Western conference. D.C. (5-13-3) is last in the East. Both are minus-20 in goal differential.
“Next week’s going to be a big game for us. We know that,” coach Adrian Heath said after United’s 3-0 loss to the New York Red Bulls on Saturday. “Obviously, we are where we are in the league, but if we can take three points on it next week, it’ll make everything look a little bit better.”
D.C. is on a six-match losing streak in all competitions, with its most recent points coming in a 2-1 home upset of expansion team Atlanta United FC on June 21. But despite the bad results, D.C. has scored six goals in its past three matches. United is scoreless in its past three league matches, going more than 350 minutes since forward Christian Ramirez’s ninth-minute goal against New York City FC on June 29.
“You can just tell, we didn’t play bad at all,” United midfielder Miguel Ibarra said. “I just think right now, we’re nursing a lot of injuries, and everyone’s trying to get healthy. And that’s kind of been a problem for us. The players that came in and helped us [Saturday], that was a big help. If we keep playing how we’re playing like we did this game, and I think once we get that goal … everything is going to open up.”
Two players who debuted for the team Saturday were winger Sam Nicholson and defender Michael Boxall, who missed most of last week sorting out their visas.
“From here on forward, it will be just day in and day out with the team, being able to work on all the little things and getting that sharpness back,” Boxall said Saturday. “I think it wasn’t the worst platform to start from today. But as long as we can build on that and keep getting better, we should be OK.”
United also will have its third new player, forward Brandon Allen, available to make his league debut for the Loons. He had to sit out the New York Red Bulls match since he’s not allowed to play against the team from which he’s loaned.
The Loons will miss center back Brent Kallman, however, who will serve a yellow card accumulation suspension.
But center backs Francisco Calvo and Jermaine Taylor could be back, after finishing the CONCACAF Gold Cup with their national teams.