The Minnesota United FC Loons will travel to Dick's Sporting Goods Park to play the Colorado Rapids this Saturday, June 8, 2019. It is the first MLS match-up of the year between the two Western Conference foes. Minnesota comes into the game holding onto 6th position in the conference, while Colorado sits all the way down in 12th, last in the conference.
Coming into this season both teams were looking to improve up their 2018 performances, when both clubs missed the playoffs. Last season Minnesota finished 10th, but worked hard to improve their defense in the offseason with signings such as standout center back Ike Opara. Thus far they are sitting in the second to last playoff position through their first 15 games. Colorado on the other hand finished 11th last season, and has slipped back one spot further to the very basement. Recent form however shows Minnesota hitting a slight speed bump, dropping their past two matches. On the other hand Colorado is undefeated over their past for with 3 wins and 1 draw since May 19, 2019. It should also be noted that Colorado won both match-ups last season.
Colorado Rapids vs Minnesota United FC Vital Information
This matches can be viewed on ESPN Plus in the United States, and will be called by Across the Pitch guest Callum Williams, and can be seen on DAZN in Canada (local coverage also available in Colorado and Minnesota). The match is at 9:00 PM EST on Saturday, June 8, 2019.
Referee assignments are To Be Determined.
This will be the 5th meeting all time between Minnesota United and Colorado Rapids. In the previous 4 meetings, Colorado has won 2 times, Minnesota has won 1, and there has been 1 draw. It was a Colorado victory in the most recent of those, 0-0, at Minnesota, back on October 13, 2018. These two clubs first met when Minnesota joined the league in 2017. Their first meeting was a 2-2 draw on March 18, 2017 at Colorado. It was in that match that Minnesota earned their first point as a franchise.
Five Points That Shouldn’t be Overlooked
The Colorado Rapids are lead in scoring by Kei Kamara with 7 goals this season, however he has not scored in over a month. His last goals came when he had a brace again Vancouver Whitecaps FC on May 3, 2019. Minnesota is lead in scoring by 2018 MLS All Star Darwin Quintero, who has 5 goals on the season. He is in an even longer scoring drought however, his last goals coming all the way back on April 19, 2019 against Toronto FC.
Both clubs have put up similar offensive numbers this year. In fact, Colorado's 24 goals this year is one more than Minnesota's 23. These numbers respectively put both teams around middle of the pack in scoring. The difference has been on defense where Colorado has struggled mightily. Though 15 games played that have allowed a league high 34 goals against, this in spite of employing the league's most decorated goalkeeper, Tim Howard.
Speaking of Tim Howard, the man is a legend walking among us considering what he did with the U.S. Mens National Team and in the Premier League with Everton. While he has been considered a top keeper since returning to the MLS, its looking like at age 40 the it may be closing in on time to hang up the boots. This year so far he has allowed 33 goals in 14 games while recording just 19 saves. By comparison, last season he allowed 58 goals in 33 games while recording 119 saves. That is nearly a 50% decline in save percentage over last season.
If Minnesota United can hold on to a playoff spot, it would be the club's first time making the postseason in their short history. It is also their first season in their brand new state of the art Allianz Field. The Rapids on the other hand are one of Major Leagues Soccer's original, and storied franchises. They made the playoffs in 11 of their first 14 seasons, including winning the championship in 2010. More recently they have struggled, as they have only been to the postseason twice in the last 7 years.
To highlight how slowly Colorado started off the season, as we mentioned above, they have won 3 out of their past 4 games. Those are the only 3 wins that they have also season. Their first win didn't come until their 12th match of the season, 1-0 over LA Galaxy on May 19, 2019. By comparison, Minnesota's first win came in the season open against Vancouver on March 2, 2019, more than 10 weeks earlier!
Colorado Rapids vs Minnesota United FC Prediction
Don't let their form over the past few games fool you, there is more to it than meets the eye. Although Minnesota comes in on a 2 game skid, the first was on the road against defending MLS Champions Atlanta United FC, and the most recent was against the Eastern Conference leading Philadelphia Union. On the other hand, Colorado's most recent win cam against expansion FC Cincinnati, who are currently dead last in the east. Even with their recent run of success, Colorado's minus 10 goal differential is still the worst in the Western Conference proving their position in the standings is accurate to how they have played. Home advantage is a big thing in the MLS, especially in Colorado with the added factor of the altitude. The Rapids have been playing well lately, but I think after two tough losses Minnesota is going to come in hungry to beat a team that they should beat on paper. This Saturday I think the better of the two teams will come out on top.
Prediction: Minnesota United FC 3 Colorado Rapids 1