Minnesota United has yet to win at its sparking new Allianz Field grounds, but it has also yet to lose there.
The Loons’ bid for their first victory there gets a stern test Sunday when D.C. United tries to stay unbeaten outside the nation’s capital.
There have been rave reviews for Allianz Field, the soccer-specific stadium that opened two weeks ago to a 3-3 draw between Minnesota United (3-2-3) and New York City FC. The Loons’ inconsistent defense turned to the good in their second match there Wednesday, frustrating the Los Angeles Galaxy to a scoreless draw.
Minnesota United had to withstand a barrage of crosses as the Galaxy repeatedly tried to pick out star striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Defensive midfielder Osvaldo Alonso shaded wider to help pitch in defensively, and the Loons limited the towering Swedish striker to one shot on target.
“I thought we were the better team,” United coach Adrian Heath told the club’s official website. “Took us about, maybe the first 10 minutes to adjust to the way their shape was. But after we made one or two little adjustments, I thought we were the most dominant team, against a very good team, and I thought that it’s two points that we’ve lost.
“But, when I look back, I’m really, really proud of the players. I thought they gave everything that they could. You know, the crowd were great. We kept the crowd in the game with our play in the second half. And I thought we were unfortunate not to win the game.”
Heath will have the services of defender Francisco Calvo and midfielder Jan Gregus for this match after both served red card suspensions following their ejections from Minnesota’s 4-3 loss to Toronto FC on April 19.
D.C. United (5-2-2) is atop the Eastern Conference and has taken 10 of a possible 12 points from its four road matches. The Black and Red grabbed the full three points at Columbus on Wednesday, with Wayne Rooney’s 20-yard free kick inside the right post in the 27th minute separating the sides.
Bill Hamid made four saves for his MLS-leading fifth clean sheet of the year, with the best one coming in the 39th minute when he pushed Frederico Higuain’s angled shot over the bar with his right hand. D.C. United’s 10 road points already match its total for all of last year when it went 1-9-7.
D.C. United rallied for a 2-1 home victory in the lone meeting with Minnesota last year as Ulises Segura and Darren Mattocks scored four minutes apart midway through the second half after Angelo Rodriguez had given the Loons a 1-0 lead two minutes after the restart.
Minnesota won 4-0 at home in 2017 in the only match between the clubs that season.
(Wayne Rooney photo courtesy Wayne Rooney official Twitter account)