Minnesota United: Why the midweek loss is troubling

After seven matches without a loss, Minnesota United was shockingly poor in their 2-0 loss at the Colorado Rapids. Certainly not a time to panic but this was a team that flat and despondent in the loss.

Yes, Minnesota United was hit with recent international call-ups. And there have been some injuries to players for sure that are testing their depth. But Minnesota United was disjointed and lacked shape defensively in their midweek loss to a good Rapids side.

It wasn’t that Minnesota United lost to the Rapids that is so concerning – this is a good team under head coach Robin Fraser that they faced on the road on Wednesday night. But how Minnesota United played is what is most dispiriting about the road loss.

Given that Minnesota United has 15 points from their last seven matches, all without a loss, the display at the Colorado Rapids on Wednesday night was disappointing.

“We were poor in the forward areas. As I said, there’s two sides to every game of football. One of it is with the ball and one of it is without,” Minnesota United head coach Adrian Heath said after the match.

“And we only wanted to do the with tonight. And we still wanted to play comfortable and safe football with the ball as well. Didn’t want to get out of our comfort zone. Didn’t want to play the ball forward without the ball. And, didn’t do enough when the opposition had the ball. All in all, very, very poor and disappointing evening.”

With the loss, Minnesota United is now 4-5-3 (15 points) and in seventh place in the Western Conference.

It was the type of performance that doesn’t make Minnesota United forget their recent strong form. But the result and their overall lackluster performance is certainly worrisome for Heath. This was a team that seemed to be turning the corner from four losses to start the season.

They showed signs of those early season struggles in losing at the Rapids. Minnesota United, despite enjoying an edge in possession, were outshot by the Rapids (13:7), including shots on goal (5:2). They also decisively lost duels (54:33) and tackles (18:8), a sign of the lack of intensity that Heath alluded to in his post-match comments about the team not wanting to work when off the ball.

Also worrisome was an 86th minute red card for Ramon Abila for punching Diego Rubio as the two players jostled prior to a free kick. Abila, recently signed from Boca Juniors, was a second half substitute in the match.

“If he’s punched him, then you’re going to get sent off. Can’t do it these days,” Heath said after the match.

“Too many cameras. VAR. All the stuff that we know. So, if he’s done it, serves him right and he’s cost the rest of the group as well.”

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