Loons will revamp lineup for U.S. Open Cup game vs. Colorado
MNUFC waiting to see how Lod recovers from illness that kept him out of the 1-0 home loss to FC Cincinnati
Minnesota United had a complete makeover of its game-day roster from its MLS game against Colorado Rapids on April 16 to the Loons’ first U.S. Open Cup match against Forward Madison on April 20.
Those 11 backup players helped the Loons produce a 2-0 victory to advance to the fourth round of the national tournament, but changes manager Adrian Heath makes from last Saturday’s 1-0 loss to Cincinnati to the fourth-round cup game against the Rapids won’t be as drastic come Wednesday night at Allianz Field.
The Loons are waiting to see how attacker Robin Lod recovers from an illness that kept him out of the 1-0 home loss to FC Cincinnati; he was involved in Tuesday’s training. Luis Amarilla was also out sick over the weekend and remained absent from Tuesday’s practice.
The Loons need all the help they can get scoring goals. MNUFC is tied for 17th in MLS with 11 goals in 10 games. And the club has been shut out in two straight matches. They beat Colorado 3-1 in St. Paul on April 16.
The Rapids will be without newly acquired forward Gyasi Zardes on Wednesday. Before being traded to Colorado, the U.S. men’s national team striker played in a U.S. Open Cup match with the Columbus Crew, making him ineligible to play for a second team in the tournament.
Heath said it’s likely goalkeeper Tyler Miller will start in net Wednesday after he helped produce a clean sheet against Madison three weeks ago. Miller, who hasn’t played in MLS since March 5, said in a team interview Tuesday that he’s keeping a “good attitude” after his starting place in league games was lost to Dayne St. Clair.
MNUFC2 in form
The Loons’ new developmental team has gotten hot. After losing its first two matches, MNUFC2 (3-2-1) is unbeaten in four straight games. Their next match is against the best in the West, Houston Dynamo 2 (6-1-0), on Saturday at Allianz Field.
Homegrown defender Devin Padelford of Maplewood scored the clinching penalty kick to give MNUFC2 an extra point in a 7-6 shootout after a 0-0 road draw with Chicago Fire 2 (0-3-3) on Sunday.
But winger Justin McMaster, who leads the MNUFC2 with four goals in 477 minutes, left the game in the first half with a shoulder injury. The second-year player might be out for an extended period.
Aziel Jackson, who has three goals on the year, had two good scoring chances in regulation and added a PK.
Padelford and center back Nabi Kibunguchy will be on the Loons’ game-day roster Wednesday, Heath said. That pair put in extra work with Loons first-team defensive coach Sean McAuley on Tuesday.
On top of changes in Open Cup matches, Minnesota has used 10 different lineups in 10 MLS games this season. … Loons right back Romain Metanire (hamstring) has entered his fifth week of rehab since tweaking the muscle vs. Austin on April. 10. … The forecast for Wednesday’s game calls for a 50 percent chance of rain at the 7 p.m. kickoff, with it increasing to 60 percent as the match finishes near 9 p.m. The game will air on ESPN+. … After starting with 103 teams, the Open Cup is now down to 32. … After being traded last week, former Loons left back Chase Gasper made his MLS season debut in a 31-minute shift for Los Angeles Galaxy on Sunday. Gasper and the Galaxy will come to Allianz Field for a league match a week from Wednesday. … The Loons will first travel to Seattle on Sunday, where they will face the newly minted CONCACAF Champions League winners. MNUFC is 0-7 versus the Sounders at Lumen Field, with a minus-11 goal differential in all MLS games there. That includes the 3-2 loss in the 2020 Western Conference final.