Team Profile: Minnesota United
Updated: Feb 25
Year founded: 2015.
First season in MLS: 2017.
Stadium: Allianz Field, Saint Paul, MN.
2023 highlights: Minnesota start at FC Dallas on February 25th, then have a bye week before hosting New York Red Bulls on March 11th. April brings them a trip to the 2023 debutants St. Louis City (April 1st), followed by a first trip to Soldier Field to play Chicago Fire (April 8th). May is a month which catches the eye. Minnesota plays six games, four away from home, and will test themselves at Vancouver, Sporting KC, Portland, and Austin. They make just a third trip to Saputo Stadium in June for the first time since 2019 to take on CF Montréal. Their regular season ends at Sporting Kansas City on October 21st, though this comes immediately after games at LAFC and home to the Galaxy. They also play six games in September in what is a congestion run to the finish line.
Head Coach: Adrian Heath.
Players to watch: Ménder García, Emanuel Reynoso, Robin Lod, Luis Amarilla, Franco Fragapane.
Eric Dick (re-signed) Cameron Dunbar (trade from LA) Doneil Henry (waivers) Clint Irwin (free agent) Ryen Jiba (SuperDraft) Mikael Marques (transfer from AFC Eskilstuna) Joseph Rosales (transfer from CA Independiente, after loan had expired) Zarek Valentin (free agent)
Alan Benitez (by mutual consent)
Abu Danladi (option declined) Oniel Fisher (option declined) Jonathan Gonzalez (loan expired) Niko Hansen (option declined) Jacori Hayes (option declined) Aziel Jackson (trade to St. Louis) Nabilai Kibunguchy (option declined) Justin McMaster (option declined) Romain Metanire (option declined) Tyler Miller (option declined) Callum Montgomery (option declined)
2022 summary: the Loons squeezed into the playoffs on the final day of the regular season, at the expense of their opponents, Vancouver Whitecaps, who they defeated 2-0 at home. It should never have been so touch and go for Minnesota, but that win over the Whitecaps was their first in seven (1-5-1) and made for a nervy last game. Adrian Heath's men had a wonderful middle third of the season, which had placed them a comfortable position before the late jitters. They suffered one defeat in 11 (8-1-2) from the end of June to the end of August. Not the highest scoring of sides since landing in MLS, the Loons scored 48 goals. Only Real Salt Lake (43) of the playoff teams scored fewer in the Western Conference. Emanuel Reynoso was the star player, leading the team in goals (10) and assists (11), followed by Luis Amarilla (9/5) and Franco Fragapane (7/3). That said, five of Amarilla's nine goals were game winners, as opposed to just three from Reynoso. Minnesota faced FC Dallas in the first round of the playoffs. They were level at 1-1 after extra time but went out 5-4 on penalties. Allianz Field hosted the 2022 MLS All-Star Game.
Facts and Stats: having failed to reach the playoffs in their first two seasons (2017-18), and placing head coach Adrian Heath under some pressure, the Loons have reached every postseason since. Minnesota managed 14 wins in 2022. Only once previously had they won more, when winning 15 in 2019.
Milestones in 2023: Adrian Heath is nine regular season games away from 250 as head coach in MLS, and nine from 200 as head coach of Minnesota. Those milestones will be hit in the home game with FC Dallas on April 30th. Goalkeeper Dayne St. Clair started all but two games in 2022. He is one away from 50 appearances and starts in MLS. The next appearance for Franco Fragapane will be his 50th, and the next goal at home will be the 100th scored by the Loons at Allianz Field.