Each Major League Soccer matchday in 2021, the KeyBank Scouting Report will gives a snapshot of the Portland Timbers’ next opponent. Portland now turns their attention to the postseason as they host Minnesota United FC in Round One of the Audi 2021 MLS Cup Playoffs on Sunday at Providence Park (2:30pm PT, TICKETS, ESPN).
How They Got Here
Minnesota finished 2021 with a record of 13-11-10, good for 49 points and fifth place in the Western Conference – six points behind fourth place Portland.
On MLS Decision Day, United blew a two-goal lead against the LA Galaxy, missed an 87th minute penalty attempt but a Galaxy own goal gave them a 3-3 draw to earn them a spot in the playoffs for the third straight year. The Loons became just the third team since 1999 to qualify for the playoffs after losing their first four games of the season. They are the only team in the playoffs, in either conference, to have a negative goal differential though they allowed fewer goals on the season (44) than Portland (52).
Portland was 0-2-0 against Minnesota in 2021 losing 1-0 on June 26 at Providence Park and then 2-1 at Allianz Field on July 24.
MNUFC have weapons to be wary of. Argentine maestro Emanuel Reynoso orchestrates the attack from midfield having scored five goals to go along with a team-leading 10 assists. Fellow midfielder Robin Lod leads the team in goals (9) while another DP, French striker Adrien Hunou is second on the team with seven goals after arriving in April. Winger Ethan Finlay has three goals and three assists.
A familiar face on the Loons squad is forward Fanendo Adi who signed with Minnesota in August. Portland's second all-time leading goalscorer, Adi has appeared in 10 matches for Minnesota with one goal and one assist. If he were to appear on Sunday, it would mark his first game back at Providence Park since being traded to FC Cincinnati in 2018.
Standards along the Minnesota backline include New Zealand international Michael Boxall (25 starts), Robin Métranire (29 starts), Chase Gasper (30 starts) and Bakaye Dibassy (26 starts).
Wil Trapp has been a key presence in midfield for Minnesota all year with 31 starts, a team-leading 2,733 minutes played as well as a goal and an assist on the campaign. Limited to 24 appearances (15 starts) in 2021, midfielder Ozzie Alonso remains a defensive force in the middle of the pitch.
In goal, Travis Miller has played in 30 matches, earning 11 clean sheets which was good for second in MLS.
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