The pomp and circumstance of their new stadium unveiling done, Minnesota United FC return to the road Friday night when they face Toronto FC in a clash of ruthless offenses.
Minnesota United FC (3-1-2) played New York City FC to a wild 3-3 draw Saturday to christen Allianz Field, its new soccer-specific stadium. The Loons were gifted a goal by NYCFC keeper Sean Johnson for a 3-2 lead in the 32nd minute but had to settle for one point after allowing an equalizer midway through the final 45 minutes.
Osvaldo Alonso and Angelo Rodriguez scored the other Minnesota goals in a seven-minute span of the first half. United has scored two or more goals in five of its six games but also conceded two or more in four of them.
“We can go back to some normality,” Loons coach Adrian Heath told the club’s official website looking ahead to this match after the long-awaited home opener. “In the beginning of the game we got caught up in the emotion, but in the end, the draw was a fair result.
“It’s never easy to go to Toronto, but we don’t expect anything different. Jozy (Altidore) looks like he’s fit and firing on all cylinders. We have to make sure we defend better than we did on Saturday.”
Toronto FC (3-1-1) is looking to regroup from its first loss of the season, 3-2 at Seattle on Saturday. Alex Pozuelo set up goals by Altidore on either side of halftime which bracketed the Sounders’ three goals, and the Reds could not find an equalizer after Altidore’s second on 70 minutes.
TFC have scored at least two goals in all five of their league matches and have 14 overall. Injury-free, Altidore has five goals in four league matches while Pozuelo has seamlessly stepped into the spot formerly held by Sebastian Giovinco and has two goals and four assists in three MLS contests.
“It’s frustrating because you get out on top and it’s a game that you want to not give up goals the way we did,” Toronto FC coach Greg Vanney told the club’s official website. “You want to try to find the balance of the ball a little bit more and we didn’t in the parts of the field that we wanted. It’s a ‘learn-from-it’ moment, take it away and try to be a little more consistent on both sides.”
Both teams’ offenses were on display in last year’s lone meeting, with Minnesota hanging on for a 4-3 home victory. Darwin Quintero had three goals in the first 57 minutes and Miguel Ibarra netted the other for the Loons, who were up 4-1 before Giovinco and Jordan Hamilton sparked a late fightback for the Reds that fell short.
Altidore, who has 57 goals in 103 MLS matches since returning in 2015, did not play in that match due to injury.
(Jozy Altidore photo courtesy Toronto FC official Twitter account)