Minnesota United FC once again appeared more like zombies than professional footballers on Wednesday night as they lost 3-0 to the Houston Dynamo.
The loss is the Loons’ third straight in MLS play and fourth straight in all competitions. People will point to the defense, but it could easily be argued it’s the midfield and forward lines that are letting Minnesota down during this horrid stretch. But there was one clear positive for United: Their franchise-record signing Emanuel Reynoso debuted in the 71st minute and barely put a foot wrong.
You would imagine the Loons will round back into some semblance of form in the future, and when they do, Reynoso could be instrumental.
Emanuel “Bebelo” Reynoso. Do your best to read through this entire piece so you can make it to the Reynoso analysis.
Away form. Why, why is playing away from home for MNUFC so incredibly difficult? The team is so hard to watch when it falls into these slumps on the road. Another big negative for this team is collective team speed. There are so few “burners” in the squad, and it inhibits them on both ends. On the offense end, it starves them of outlets for releasing up the field quickly. On defense, it means if any other team has a speedster, United could be roasted at any moment.
Another huge negative: Thomas Chacon getting injured midweek. Based on Adrian Heath’s lineup, you can basically guarantee he’d of handed the young Uruguayan his first-ever MLS start, considering he similarly rewarded Mason Toye, Raheem Edwards and Hassani Dotson for the bombastic second half against FC Dallas. A devastating development.
Coach rating out of 10
4 — This rating isn’t even lower for two reasons and two reasons only: Finally having the conviction to make massive changes to the starting XI, and because in doing so Heath did what he could and put it on the players to go out and get a result. That said, it really doesn’t feel like he has a super strong sense of what the team needs as nothing he’s done has seemed to work lately.
Specifically, I would reference the team’s energy levels and tactical movement. For much of the losing streak, the teams has looked dog tired. Where are the analytics? Where’s the strength and conditioning coach? A franchise with countless resources should have a better grasp on this.
Lastly, the team is incredibly stagnant going forward, primarily in the final third. When they play it wide, if the receiving player doesn’t have a WIDE OPEN crossing option, the team seems to have no idea what to do. Heath and the staff should be devising better ways to create chances in the middle as well.
(1-10 | 10 = Best)
*Players introduced late may get no rating
GK Greg Ranjitsingh, 3 — Very possibly could have done better on goals one and three. If Tyler Miller was objectively a downgrade from Vito Mannone, than what is Ranjitsingh? It should not be forgotten how key Mannone was to United’s success last season. Without the Italian shot-stopper, Minnesota could regress substantially.
RB Romain Metanire, 3.5 — One of the lowest grades I’ve ever given Metanire, but his continual crossing to no one in particular is getting very old.
CB James Musa, 5 — Actually thought he did pretty well for himself considering he was a Second Division player a year ago, and in his last match he immediately gave away a penalty kick.
LB Chase Gasper, 3.5 — An uncharacteristically bad performance from Gasper and, frankly, he hasn’t looked too great throughout this entire losing streak. He looks exhausted.
CM Jan Gregus, 1 — Yikes. This two-game stretch from Gregus has been utterly shambolic. Tonight takes the cake, though. He was given the massive responsibility of filling the vaunted No. 6 role of club captain Ozzie Alonso. This should have been a great opportunity for one of the franchise’s highly-paid designated players to command his team forward into a stellar performance. Nothing of the sort, Gregus completely wilted and dragged the team down with him. You could argue he was a conspicuously at fault on both the first and third goals.
CM Hassani Dotson, 6 — One of the only guys you could feel any type of good will toward after this one.
CM Marlon Hairston, 5 — Did decent considering his abrupt insertion into the lineup. His passing was very accurate, but he brought next to nothing else.
LW Raheem Edwards, 4 — Looked his sprightly bright self in the beginning, offering things few in the squad do: speed, endeavor and a willingness to create his own shot and take it. Sadly, he couldn’t maintain it. Hard to know if that’s his fault, or if it was because he was surrounded by inferior play.
RW Robin Lod, 2 — Lod is one of the primary culprits I was hinting at in Reynoso’s rating. His passes are so unimaginative it’s a pain to watch. He makes United so easy to defend with his lack of creativity and speed.
ST Mason Toye, 3.5 — Started somewhat brightly, but then faded dramatically. I’ve said it before and it appears to remain true: The United coaching staff seems to be instructing him to stay very high and rarely check back to the ball. I think this is shortsighted because it leaves him starved of the ball for long, arduous stretches. How’s he to develop that way?
CAM Emanuel Reynoso, 7 — A debut in the most anticlimactic of circumstances, but exciting for the Loons nonetheless. Bebelo was clinical with every single touch of the ball. He continually oozed calm when in possession and made great decisions. You can tell immediately he sees plays multiple steps in advance and thus creates instead of forcing telegraphed passes, something many of his teammates painstakingly do game in and game out. This is the tiniest of sample sizes, but so far, so good.
ST Luis Amarilla, 2 — This is honestly getting hard to watch. I don’t know exactly what is ailing the Paraguayan but his confidence looks completely shattered. He looks miles away from the man who guaranteed 25 goals this campaign. The turnovers are especially concerning. In Wednesday’s match, Amarilla had a team-low passing percentage of 55.6%. That’s tragic. The next lowest outfield player was Edwards at 77.8%. That’s a Grand-Canyon-sized gap.
RW Ethan Finlay, N/A
LM Kevin Molino, N/A
CM Jacori Hayes, N/A