Minnesota United will look to keep their playoff push alive when they host FC Cincinnati at the Allianz Field on Saturday.
Minnesota are seventh in the Western Conference as it stands, which is the last spot to get into the playoffs. Both Real Salt Lake and Vancouver are just a point behind them, which makes the race a tight one. Minnesota were on a three-game losing streak in the MLS before the US Open Cup games provided a welcome breakthrough. They faced Sporting Kansas City in the fourth round and beat them 4-1. Darwin Quintero got a brace for Minnesota in that game.
Houston Dynamo were their opponents in the Round of 16. Houston took a 2-0 lead in the first half, but Minnesota were not to be denied. They scored thrice in the second half to book their place in the quarter-finals where they will face New Mexico United. Quintero scored a brace in that game as well. He is Minnesota’s top scorer in the MLS with five goals to his name so far. He should be confident of increasing that tally against Cincinnati considering his recent form.
The two wins in the US Open Cup must have given Minnesota a lot of confidence. Their last MLS game was a 1-0 loss against the Colorado Rapids. Despite having more of the ball, they failed to get anything from that game. Minnesota will be hoping that the last two games will change their MLS fortunes for the better.
As for opponents Cincinnati, the picture is bleak. In terms of points accumulated, they are the worst side in the whole of MLS. Cincinnati have just 11 points from 17 games. They have won only three league games all season, which is less than any other side. Cincinnati’s last MLS win came back in May when they beat Montreal Impact 2-1. Since then, they have not picked up a point in the league.
They did win a US Open Cup game as they beat Louisville City in the fourth round. Saint Louis FC were the opponents in the Round of 16 and Cincinnati lost 1-0. Their last match was an MLS clash against LA Galaxy. Two early goals were enough to hand Galaxy a 2-0 win. Cincinnati had 65% possession in the game, but they failed to register themselves on the score-sheet.
Cincinnati have conceded 36 goals this season, which is the most in the Eastern Conference. They have scored 14 goals themselves, which is also the worst tally in the conference. No player has scored more than two goals for them this season. Allan Cruz, Kekuta Manneh, and Darren Mattocks have all scored twice.
Minnesota United vs FC Cincinnati Prediction
Minnesota will be the favorites against Cincinnati. They should get a comfortable win, and a clean sheet is also highly likely. The total goals should be over 2.5 in the game. Minnesota should get the three points to get back to winning ways in the league.