Minnesota United vs Columbus Crew: Preview and Prediction

Minnesota United will look to make it two wins from two when they host reigning MLS Cup winners Columbus Crew at the Allianz Arena on Saturday.

Last season, Minnesota failed to qualify for the end-of-season playoffs for the first time since 2018, prompting the departure of long-term manager Adrian Heath, who had been at the helm since joining the MLS in 2017.

Eric Ramsay has been named Heath’s replacement, with the 31-year-old taking on his first senior management role after previously serving as a coach for Manchester United and Wales. He got off to the best possible start to his tenure when Minnesota defeated Austin 2-1 last weekend, with loanee Alejandro Bran’s late strike scooping all three points for his side.

On the other hand, Columbus Crew began the defence of their MLS Cup on Saturday as they opened the 2024 domestic campaign with a narrow 1-0 defeat to Atlanta United at Lower.com Field. The opening season for Wilfried Nancy in Columbus Crew was a smashing success, as he took a side that had missed the post-season two years in a row to a MLS Cup triumph.

Team News & Tactics

Minnesota United

Minnesota United remain without the services of Emanuel Reynoso due to a knee injury, with the playmaker unlikely to return to first-team action until early April. Kevin Arriaga is also a significant doubt due to his own knee issue.

Head coach Eric Ramsay has no reasons whatsoever to change his winning formula after edging out Austin in his first game in charge. Off-season recruits Jordan Adebayo-Smith, Victor Eriksson, and Caden Clark will all have to contend for a place on the bench.

Teemu Pukki was a standout performer for the Loons last season, and the 33-year-old, who finished with ten goals in 14 league matches, looks set to shoulder the club’s goalscoring responsibilities here.

At the opposite end of the pitch, Dayne St. Clair should continue between the sticks for Minnesota, while we expect Ramsay to name a back four of Joseph Rosales, Michael Boxall, Miguel Tapias, and David Justin Taylor this weekend.

Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Clair; Taylor, Boxall, Tapias, Rosales; Lod, Trapp, Dotson; Jeong, Pukki, Fragapane

Columbus Crew

Will Sands missed the majority of the 2023 campaign for the Columbus Crew after suffering a serious cruciate ligament tear. The left-back is a long-term absentee, and there is currently no timeline available for his expected return date.

Columbus Crew added Derrick Jones from Charlotte FC in the off-season and signed Marino Hinestroza from Pachuca, with the Colombian expected to compete for a place in the lineup against Mohamed Farsi.

The contract of Josh Williams expired, Kevin Molino and the club mutually parted ways, and Julian Gressel joined Inter Miami on a free transfer. Much like last season, Columbus Crew will utilise their wide players to generate quality attacking chances. The ability to get both wing-backs high into the attack is priority number one for head coach Nancy.

In possession, expect both Yaw Yeboah and Farsi to push high up the field into a winger position. This will allow the backline of Rudy Camacho, Malte Amundsen, and Sean Zawadzki to fan out and occupy more space. The attacking trio of Cucho Hernandez, Diego Rossi, and Jacen Russell-Rowe will stay in the central area of the pitch.

Probable Lineup (3-4-2-1): Schulte; Zawadzki, Camacho, Amundsen; Farsi, Nagbe, Morris, Yeboah; Rossi, Russell-Rowe; Hernandez

Key Stats

  • There have been six prior meetings between the teams, and the spoils are evenly split with three wins each, including two penalty shootout victories for the Loons.
  • Minnesota and Columbus last met in August 2023, where the sides played out an entertaining 3-3 draw before the Loons won 7-6 on penalties.
  • Minnesota United have won just two of their past 10 league games, whereas Columbus have won three of their last four.
  • Minnesota have won only one of their last three matches across all competitions.

Player to Watch

Cucho Hernandez

Embed from Getty Images

Cucho Hernandez, who was named the MLS Cup MVP after opening the scoring for Columbus Crew in the final in December, was on the scoresheet once again when Columbus hosted Atlanta in their opening game of the season. His 27th-minute strike proved to be the difference between the two teams, and he will once again hold the key for the visitors here.


Minnesota United 2-2 Columbus Crew

Minnesota United are entering a new era under promising coach Eric Ramsay, and they look like an exciting outfit in a new system, especially after they missed the playoffs last year.

Columbus Crew are a far more stable outfit under Wilfried Nancy, having won the MLS Cup last season. As such, an end-to-end encounter with plenty of goalmouth action could be on the cards this weekend, as both managers love to go on the offensive.

Leave Comment


Welcome Back!

Login to your account below

Retrieve your password

Please enter your username or email address to reset your password.