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Minnesota United looks to flee franchise-worst funk

With Saturday’s 2-1 loss to Inter Miami, the Loons are 1-6-1 in their past eight games

MLS: Minnesota United FC at Inter Miami CF
Minnesota United defender Bakaye Dibassy (12) protects the ball against Inter Miami CF forward Leonardo Campana (9) during the first half at DRV PNK Stadium on Saturday, June 25, 2022, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Sam Navarro / USA Today Sports
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Even Minnesota United’s Dark Ages weren’t as dour as their current form.

With Saturday’s 2-1 loss to Inter Miami, the Loons are 1-6-1 in their past eight games. Those four total points constitute the worst regular-season skid over any eight-game stretch since the club joined MLS in 2017.

This lull is worse than what MNUFC wrung out in any eight-game string in their dreadful expansion season in 2017 or sophomore hangover in 2018. The Loons tallied five points once apiece in each of those seasons.

Loons manager Adrian Heath sought a broader perspective Tuesday during his video conference call with reporters before Minnesota (5-8-3) plays Los Angeles Galaxy (7-5-3) at 9:30 p.m. Wednesday at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, Calif.

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Matt Navratil, a 26-year-old from Burnsville, Minnesota, is a diehard Loons fan and a season-ticket holder who travels with his parents, Scott and Chris, to a few road games each season.
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The Loons dealt with a steady stream of pressure, but made the most of their few opportunities to take all three points on the road.
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One of Dayne St. Clair’s first soccer memories is from roughly 20 years ago with him juggling a plastic balloon at his grandmother’s home in the Toronto area. The young Canadian wasn’t yet good enough with his feet to keep a heavier soccer ball aloft; he needed an inflatable orb that would hang in the air a bit longer.
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After signing a 2½-year contract with MNUFC through the 2024 season, with a club option for 2025, the 28-year-old Paraguayan has played in three games — an international friendly versus Everton, plus coming off the bench in two MLS games, wins over Houston and Portland.
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Loons coach Adrian Heath played for Everton in 1980s.
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Minnesota United also working to send forward Adrien Hunou back to France

“If we were playing poorly and not creating opportunities and giving goals up, then I’d start to, not worry — because obviously I’m concerned — but there is not an awful lot wrong,” Heath said. “This is not a bad team. This is a team that can compete with anybody.”

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Heath said he went through some lists Tuesday morning and rattled off some of the headlining competition MNUFC has faced: first-place Philadelphia and Los Angeles FC. Of the 16 total games this season, 12th-place MNUFC has played 12 teams currently in the MLS Cup Playoffs picture.

Added sting to Minnesota’s skid comes in how they led 1-0 against Miami and New England on June 19 before losing both road games. MNUFC has dropped 10 points after scoring the first goal of the game this season.

“That’s something that we’ve been looking for for a least a month or two: where we need to have complete performances,” center back Michael Boxall said.

Heath said the message to the players has been: “Keep believing in what we are doing. Keep believing in the performances.”

The conclusion of Wednesday’s game will mark the halfway point of the 2022 season. After a home game against Real Salt Lake on Sunday, the Loons will have six consecutive games against teams outside the playoff picture. Three of them will be in St. Paul.

Hunou deal almost done

MNUFC expects to have “everything signed” Wednesday to complete the permanent move of forward Adrien Hunou to Angers in France’s Ligue 1, a source told the Pioneer Press on Tuesday.

Hunou, who was not with the Loons in Miami on Saturday, has not scored a goal in 128 minutes in MLS play in 2022. He had seven goals in 1,707 minutes in 2021.

Hunou, 28, joined Minnesota as a Designated Player in May 2021 on a transfer fee in excess of $3 million, and the Frenchman was the Loons’ highest-paid player at $2.68 million, according to MLS Players’ Association figures. He was the 17th highest-paid player in the league when MLSPA shared its data on April 15.

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Briefly

Loons midfielder Joseph Rosales sprained his ankle against Miami, cleared the MRI test and planned to train in L.A. on Tuesday, Heath said. … Captain defensive midfielder Wil Trapp is coming off a one-game suspension for yellow card accumulations on Saturday; he is available to play Wednesday. … Reynoso is one caution away from a one-game suspension. … When MNUFC made three straight playoff appearances, they avoided prolonged droughts. From 2019-21, they had only one eight-game stretch below eight points. That included quickly bouncing back from an 0-4-0 start in 2021. … L.A. Galaxy has had recent success with Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez and Devan Joveljic as two strikers on the field at the same time, but Heath expects coach Greg Vanney to have Chicharito start alone up top Wednesday. … On May 18, Robin Lod scored the equalizing goal in the 87th minute for Minnesota to net a 1-1 draw with Galaxy in St. Paul. … After being traded from Minnesota in early May, Chase Gasper has played 174 of Galaxy’s 540 total MLS minutes.

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This story was written by one of our partner news agencies. Forum Communications Company uses content from agencies such as Reuters, Kaiser Health News, Tribune News Service and others to provide a wider range of news to our readers. Learn more about the news services FCC uses here.

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