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Jun 7, 2024 6:45 pm

FC Dallas continue ‘very tough stretch’ against Minnesota United

FC Dallas

Still searching for their first road win, FC Dallas complete one of their toughest scheduling spots of the season when they face Minnesota United on Saturday night in Saint Paul, Minn.

Dallas (3-8-4, 13 points), which is 0-6-2 away from home in MLS action, will be playing its fifth match in an 18-day span, including four matches against the top four teams in the Western Conference standings.

The Toros began the stretch with 2-1 road victory over the Tampa Bay Rowdies in the U.S. Open Cup on May 22 and followed that up three days later with a 3-3 home draw with Western Conference leading Real Salt Lake. Dallas then suffered back-to-back losses over a four-day period in Los Angeles to the fourth-place LA Galaxy (3-1) and second-place Los Angeles FC (1-0).

Next up is a contest with the third-place Loons (8-3-4, 28 points).

“It’s a tough stretch, very tough stretch, but it is what it is,” Dallas coach Nico Estevez said.

Minnesota United, coming off a 3-1 victory over Sporting Kansas City last Saturday, will be short-handed for the contest. Nine Loons, including goalie Dayne St. Clair (Canada), striker Teemu Pukki and leading scorer Robin Lod (Finland), and top goal scorer Tani Oluwaseyi (Canada), are gone on international duty while defenders DJ Taylor (hamstring) and Miguel Tapias (green card issues) are also expected to miss the game.

“It was quiet in the facility,” defender Devin Padelford told the Minneapolis Star Tribune after practice earlier this week. “It’s almost sad. Like you walk in and you’re like, where is everyone?”

The Loons should still field a solid midfield led by Sang Bin Jeong, Bongi Hlongwane and Franco Fragapane and will have New Zealand international Michael Boxall to help guide the backline. Veteran Clint Irwin, who has 34 career clean sheets in 141 games (137 starts), will make his first start this season in place of St. Clair.

“I think we take it for what it is and really get our teeth stuck into trying to prepare this group for a difficult game,” Minnesota coach Eric Ramsay said. “We have sort of thrived on that need to be pragmatic, and I think that will, hopefully, bring the best out of us and the players.”

Petar Musa leads FC Dallas with five goals. Midfielder Carl Sainte (Haiti) and defender Nolan Norris (U.S. under-19) are away on international duty.

–Field Level Media

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