Since joining Major League Soccer in 2017, Minnesota United FC fans have had fun with the club’s early struggles on social media platforms using the hashtag #PANIC. Following an 0-3 start to the season, however, is it time for supporters and fans alike to #PANIC?!
But it is fair for you to be sitting on the edge of your chair at the moment.
In incredibly unexpected fashion, Minnesota United fell to expansion side Austin FC Saturday evening at Allianz Field, 1-0. It was the Loons’ third straight loss, their second straight at home. It’s fair to say Adrian Heath’s side is struggling, but it’s not worth panicking… yet.
They have only scored a single goal over three games while conceding seven. Their defensive woes are the biggest problem at the moment, with costly mistakes happening during their first two matches of the season and on-pitch miscommunication being at fault for the lone goal that Austin FC scored Saturday evening to take all three points at Allianz Field.
With starting left-sided central defender Bakaye Dibassy out for the first three matches with injury, the Loons have opted for left fullback Jukka Raitala (you-kuh, rye-tuh-luh) to fill in centrally for the last two games while Woodbury, Minn. native Brent Kallman played in the opener. Raitala’s experience has helped, but the defense still has shortcomings.
According to MLSSoccer.com, the Loons are tied for the second-worst goal differential in the league and have conceded 17 shots on target over three matches, a stat that is in the bottom half of the league, as well. The Loons offense has been struggling, too, with Robin Lod scoring the only goal of the season — tied for second-worst in the league. However, the most notable stat is MNUFC’s shooting percentage: They lie at the bottom of the league with a measly 16.98%, where the league’s top team, the San Jose Earthquakes, sits at 57.14%.
Stats don’t always tell the full story, but the Loons cannot keep playing like they are, or they’ll suffer the consequences from it later on in the season. For a club that made an appearance in the Western Conference Finals last year, their start this season is worrying. However, there’s a glimpse of sun on the horizon.
In a recently completed DP-level deal, the Loons acquired some attacking help through French Striker Adrien Hunou from Stade Rennais in the top division of France. It’s unknown when Hunou is to arrive in Minnesota, but the Loons are getting the attacking help they desperately crave, soon. In addition to Hunou, according to reports out of South America, The Athletic, and the Pioneer Press, the Loons are set to sign versatile left-winger Franco Fragapane from Talleres in Argentina.
With the likes of Hunou and Fragapane joining up in Minnesota, it’s fair to wait on hitting the #PANIC button. It sounds as if Loons defender Bakaye Dibassy is set to return from injury this upcoming week and could be fit to face the Colorado Rapids on May 8.
Loons fans are still waiting for playmaker Emanuel Reynoso to start cooking, too. The Argentinian attacking midfielder joined in the fall of last year, registered 12 assists and two goals over 16 matches in 2020, and was touted as an MVP candidate before this season began. It’s a long season and things are just getting started.
So, for now, sit and be patient. Attacking help is on the way, and an important defender is set to return from injury. It’s not time to #PANIC… yet.