Preview: Minnesota United FC vs. Carolina RailHawks
First place in the North American Soccer League is on the line Saturday night at the Metrodome as Minnesota United FC hosts the Carolina RailHawks. The match, which kicks off at 7 p.m., pairs two teams with identical records locked in a tie for top spot in the race to host the 2013 NASL Soccer Bowl in the fall. Video
Despite being just four games into the NASL Spring season, Minnesota United FC head coach Manny Lagos isn’t shying away from the importance of a win and the chance to reach the top of the league. “It’s a great situation for our club and our fans, and something we’re excited about,” he said.
Carolina will enter the game well-rested, having had two weeks to prepare for the game after a bye week last weekend and having not ventured away from Cary, N.C., since the first week of the season. Minnesota played last weekend, overturning a 2-1 halftime deficit in a 3-2 win against the previously unbeaten Atlanta Silverbacks, who provided a similar test defensively to what Minnesota could face Saturday at the Metrodome.
“They’re not going to sit back, they’re going to get after our back four,” Lagos said. “They have a lot of busy forwards and wide midfielders who like to interchange and can cause you problems if you’re not aware of your shape and recovering defensively.”
Similarly, Minnesota will rely on interplay among midfielders and forwards to try to create openings in the Carolina back four. Having attacked centrally in its first two games, Minnesota created additional width in its comeback in Atlanta with the holdup play and height of forward Pablo Campos, who made his first appearance after sitting out suspended the first two games of the season. Now the 2012 NASL MVP has a chance to make his first start at home in front of fans he and the rest of the team are eager to impress. After playing with Carolina in 2011 and the San Antonio Scorpions last season, Campos is used to being a villain for longtime Minnesota soccer fans, and having scored seven goals against Minnesota over the previous two season, he’s excited to start scoring for the home team.
“They used to scream my name to make fun of me, hopefully now they’ll scream my name to cheer for me,” he said. “We’re ready for Saturday’s fight—everybody wants to come here and beat us—and we want to win for our fans at home.”
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