Minnesota United's upcoming opponent LA Galaxy had a big win this past weekend at the New York Red Bulls, snapping the Eastern Conference team's 13-month league home unbeaten streak with a 3-1 victory.
That result put the Galaxy tied with United in the Western conference with 11 points, one place out of playoff contention. United coach Adrian Heath said the Galaxy, whom the Loons face at 4 p.m. Sunday at TCF Bank Stadium, have endured some early season struggles like his own team. But that bad luck might be turning now.
"We've watched most of their games, and anytime they've got a bit of momentum in games, they've conceded poor goals, a bit like we've done," Heath said. "But I think if you look at their front four, their front four have a little bit of everything: pace, size, athleticism and quality. That's why you pay a lot of money for forward going players. [Romain] Alessandrini wasn't cheap. [Giovani] dos Santos is not cheap. Gyasi Zardes is a national team player if he's fit. [Emmanuel] Boateng has incredible pace and athleticism. So the four of them together all bring a little bit of something different to the table. But collectively when they click, they're very difficult to handle.
"It's going to be a big test for our back four. They've done relly well of late, so let's see if it can continue."
Good news for United is starting goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth is good to go for the match after having an operation Wednesday to set his broken nose endured two weeks ago.
Heath also commented on United's U.S. Open Cup draw, which guarantees four meetings with Sporting Kansas City this year. Will the Loons be sick of Kansas City by the end of 2017?
"Yeah, we will be because one thing about Peter [Vermes'] group, they bring it every single game," Heath said. "So whether he makes changes in the Open Cup, I don't know. But they're going to be difficult games. But it's a great place to go and play. It will probably give us an opportunity to look at one or two of our players who have not played as many minutes. I'm not taking the competition lightly, but it does give us an opportunity."
Here's Heath on midfielder Kevin Molino, btw.