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Apr 5, 2024 2:19 pm

Minnesota, Real Salt Lake looking to continue strong starts

cristian arango

Most things have gone well for Minnesota United this season, so the club will seek a momentum shift coming off its first loss of the season.

On the flip side, Real Salt Lake will want to build on their latest success when the teams meet Saturday night at Saint Paul, Minn.

One defeat isn’t likely to distract Minnesota (3-1-1, 10 points).

“They’re an interesting type (of) team,” Real Salt Lake coach Pablo Mastroeni said. “… They’ve relied on a lot more fight defensively. They’ve become a better pressing team.”

Real Salt Lake (3-2-1, 10 points) have a similar record to Minnesota, but there’s a different kind of buzz with the team because Cristian Arango scored three second-half goals in last week’s 3-1 victory over St. Louis City.

Minnesota coach Eric Ramsay said the 2-0 setback at Philadelphia last week came with some unfortunate circumstances as the team tried to get in sync with players returning from international assignments.

“I think it’s not one of those to dwell on so much,” Ramsay said.

So perhaps it’s a good thing for Minnesota to be looking ahead to the match versus Real Salt Lake. Even with the shutout loss, there were enough encouraging stretches for Minnesota to realize that the Loons could be back in a groove quickly.

“It’s still a game that we had enough chances,” Ramsay said.

The encouraging news for Minnesota is the potential return of defender Miguel Tapias, who missed last week’s match because of a hamstring injury.

It’s not so uplifting on the injury front for Real Salt Lake. The team lost veteran defender Marcelo Silva to a practice injury this week, and he could miss at least four months of time.

Arango has two career MLS hat tricks, though the other came about 2 1/2 years prior to last weekend. He could have more help with teenager Fidel Barajas likely back after missing a match because of an ailing knee.

Barajas is among a core of young players making impacts for Real Salt Lake.

“They’re all very ambitious,” Mastroeni said. “The way these guys carry themselves is so different and so much more professional than I was at their respective ages.”

–Field Level Media

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