Minnesota United off to a terrible start and the defense is the issue

Minnesota United head coach Adrian Heath. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports
Minnesota United head coach Adrian Heath. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports /

Minnesota United is not just winless through their first four games of the season, they are without a single result. It is a shockingly bad start to the season for a team that had legitimate MLS Cup aspirations heading into 2021.

A 3-2 loss at the Colorado Rapids on Saturday evening is the latest example for a poor start from Minnesota United. The club now has four losses in as many games, the latest installment at the Rapids coming after going up 2-0 in the opening 27 minutes of the game.

But a second half collapse, keyed by a Cole Bassett equalizing goal in the 71st minute and then Danny Wilson’s go-ahead score in the 82nd minute doomed Minnesota United to another dropped result.

Minnesota United head coach told reporters after the game that four losses in as many games is not the start he imagined.

“No. No. But, that’s harshly how it is when you defend like we’ve done on the road. Seven goals. The irony is, is the two from us in the first half have been probably the best we’ve played. I thought the first half tonight we were exceptional at times,” Heath said.

“All the things that we did well in the first half, we didn’t do in the second half. As I say, we made poor choices with the ball. Poor choices without the ball. And, obviously, if we continually turn the ball over to the other team in your own half, and allow them time and space to put the ball in your box with quality, invariably people get on the end of it. And, I just don’t think we’ve done that well tonight.”

This isn’t where Minnesota United is supposed to be in the standings. The club made a run to the Western Conference Finals last year and was within minutes of MLS Cup. This year, after investing heavily in their midfield and the attack, they were supposed to take that next step and challenge for MLS Cup and perhaps even the Supporters Shield.

Instead, they are bottom of the league and the only team in MLS without a single point earned this season.

Minnesota’s issues aren’t necessarily with the ball, even as they’ve scored only three goals to start the season. It is defensively, where they have allowed 10 goals through four games, most in the league cumulatively and second-worst in MLS on a per-game allowed basis (FC Cincinnati is allowing 2.66 goals per game compared to Minnesota’s 2.5 goals per game conceded).

“Very disappointed. Everybody here wants to win…and the expectations we had before the season, now it’s completely opposite,” midfielder Jen Gregus said after the game.

“We are last and we didn’t win one game and the amount of goals conceded it’s like…I don’t know if it’s big or not [in MLS], but it’s very bad so…we didn’t expect this, but like I said, we need to break it with the following game because this is unacceptable.”

Follow Kristian Dyer of ‘MLS Multiplex‘ on Twitter @KristianRDyer