Game Keys, Predicted Kick Off and a Prediction – Twin Cities


Minnesota United vs Austin FC

When: 7:30pm CT on Saturday

Where: Allianz Field, St. Paula

Streaming: Apple TV, MLS Season Pass

Radio: KSTP-AM 1500 ESPN

Weather: 68 degrees, 20 percent chance of rain

Betting line: Minnesota, minus-135; Austin, plus-333, tied for plus-300

Series history: The Loons beat Austin on the road on the opening day of the season, winning 2-1 in a game that wasn’t that close. In St. Paul, the overall series is tied, with both teams winning two games apiece.

Form: Austin (6-7-6, 24 points) is on a five-game winless streak, with two draws and three losses in that span. The Loons (8-5-5, 29 points) have lost two straight and have just one win in their last six games.

Update: Wil Trapp missed last Saturday’s game for the Loons while waiting for his third child to be born and then had to fly separately to meet the team in Dallas on Wednesday after his daughter was born on Tuesday. “For me, it’s really just a relief that the wife and the baby are all okay. And now let’s get back to the season, because it’s a busy week,” Trapp said.

Watch: Loons quarterback Kervin Arriaga practiced with the team Friday after missing Wednesday’s game due to what the team called “an internal personnel matter.” Arriaga has been linked with several interested teams in Europe. Most leagues in Europe open their transfer windows on July 1 and will be able to officially bring in new players then.

Projected XI: In a 5-2-3 formation: LW Franco Fragapane, CF Robin Lod, RW Sang Bin Jeong; CM Hassani Dotson, CM Wil Trapp; LWB Joseph Rosales, LCB Miguel Tapias, CB Michael Boxall, RCB Kervin Arriaga, RWB DJ Taylor; GK Clint Irwin

Absences: Dayne St. Clair, Tani Oluwaseyi, Carlos Harvey and Alejandro Bran (international duty) are away for the Copa América. Teemu Pukki (knee), Hugo Bacharach (knee) and Devin Padelford (concussion) are out with injuries.

The story: Earlier in the season, first-year Loons coach Eric Ramsay decided to use as many players as he could, partly to keep the squad integrated, partly to manage minutes. But now, the team is shorthanded, and Ramsay knows he will have to ask some players to keep playing three times in eight days.

“It’s not impossible for players to play three games a week,” said Ramsay. “It happens all the time at the highest level, it’s the nature of league sport here. So it’s not impossible to ask that group of players to go again and perform very well tomorrow.”

The idea: MLS limits how often its teams can sign players from their MLS NEXT Pro affiliates to short-term contracts. NEXT Pro players can be on the team for a maximum of four matches per season and can play a maximum of two matches.

It makes sense not to allow teams to retain extra players with their affiliates, but at the same time, I like a suggestion of a rule change I got from social media user Brandon Hundt: replacing players who are called up for international duty or who are out on paternity leave, should be excluded from the limits. There’s no reason Minnesota, which is missing four to eight players due to international duty and paternity leave over the last three games, should be overstepping its bounds in trying to build a full game-day roster. .

Scouting Report: According to fbref.com, Austin FC has an expected goal differential of minus-13.1 this year, worst in the Western Conference. If not for goaltender Brad Stuver, one of the best goaltenders in MLS, Austin might be lower in the rankings.

Prediction: The Loons have struggled this week but finally have a full first-round five at their disposal. Minnesota gets back into the win column with a 2-0 win.

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