Match Preview: MNUFC vs. LA Galaxy

Minnesota United forward Teemu Pukki (22) scores a goal during the match against the LA Galaxy at Allianz Field in Saint Paul, Minn., on Saturday, October 7, 2023. (Photo by Seth Steffenhagen/Steffenhagen Photography)

After a win in Atlanta and a week-long bye, Minnesota United FC return to Allianz Field for two home matches in four days. This Saturday Minnesota welcomes the last-place Portland shiver-they Timbers. However, before all that, the Loons welcome a team that’s right behind them in the standings.

On Wednesday, May 15 at 7:30 PM, Minnesota United host the LA Galaxy, who are tied with the Loons on points. LA recently clawed back from being down 2-0 at home to draw 2-2 in the 90+4th minute.

The match will stream on Apple TV’s MLS Season Pass. AM 1500 (KSTP) will have live coverage on the radio, and of course, you can see the game live at Allianz Field.

2024 MLS Western Conference Standings Real Salt Lake in first place with 22 points and 6 W, 2 L, 4 D. "Minnesota United FC" is highlighted in blue in 2nd place. "LA Galaxy" is highlighted in black in 3rd place. The stats for just those 2 teams (MIN / LA) GP: 10 / 12 W: 6 / 5 L: 2 / 2 D: 2 / 5 PTS: 20 / 20 GF: 17 / 23 GA: 11 / 19 For the full standings (live: will change every matchday), go to

When Northland Soccer Journal asked about if the tight Western Conference Table is motivation for winning, Eric Ramsay redirected to focus on present processes/tactics, not on past wins or losses:

“I don’t think it’s necessarily to talk about winning. I much prefer talking about the processes that sits behind that. The players may or may not look at the standings. I think at the moment, it’s largely irrelevant. I think I’ve used the phrase in the last couple of games that you’re starting from zero every single time. It’s not where we’re taking anything for granted on the back of having won the last three games. We want to make sure everyone goes into the mentality of starting from zero. And I hope that players stay on the board because as you guys know, tables can be misleading.”

Form (W-L-D)

MIN: 2nd in West (20 points,  GD +6), 6-2-2, Last 5: W-W-W-L-D

LA: 3rd in West (20 points, GD +4), 5-2-5, Last 5: D-D-L-W-W


MLS Overall:  3-7-4

MLS Regular Season: 3-6-4

MLS Home:  2-4-2

MLS Away:  1-3-2

How The Teams Compare MIN / LA Record (W-L-D): 6-2-2 / 5-2-5 Points: 20 / 20 Position: 2nd West / 3rd West Goals Scored: 17 / 23 Goals Against 11 / 19 Assists: 20 / 24 Shots: 137 / 184 Shots on Goal: 55 / 74 Fouls Conceded 139 / 121 Fouls Suffered: 97 / 173 Offsides: 19 / 21 Corner Kicks: 64 / 76 PK Scored: 0 / 1 PK Attempts 0 / 3 Clean Sheets: 2 / 2

Series Record — MN vs LA: Pre-MLS

Before the 2019 MLS Cup Playoff match at Allianz Field and before the NASL-era of Minnesota United (and Minnesota Stars), the Minnesota Thunder played the LA Galaxy at least three times in the U.S. Open Cup.

  • July 17, 2002 — LA Galaxy visited NSC Stadium in Blaine and won 4-0 over the Minnesota Thunder (5,154 attendance) behind a Chris Albright brace.
  • July 20, 2004 — Minnesota Thunder won 1-0 at the Metrodome (5,505 attendance) on a goal by Chris Brunt. The Thunder would lose in the quarterfinals (2-2, 5-4 penalties) to the San Jose Earthquakes at James Griffin Stadium.
  • September 14, 2005 — After three ‘cupsets’ over MLS squads, the second division (USL1) Thunder lost 5-2 in the semifinals to the LA Galaxy at Home Depot Center (4,373 attendance). LA Galaxy would go on to win the 2005 U.S. Open Cup.

On November 11, 2007, the LA Galaxy came to the Metrodome for a second time for a postseason friendly (20,123 attendance). The Galaxy wanted to show off mid-season arrival David Beckham, for which the league created the Designated Player Rule.

Player Availability


Out: Adebayo-Smith (ankle), Bacharach (knee), Dotson (thigh), Nyeman (thigh), Reynoso (not due to injury)
Questionable: None

LA Galaxy

Out: None
Questionable: None

Training Notes

Minnesota United players warm up passing before a rondo/defense drill within the northeast corner of Allianz Field (Photo by Matthew Johnson, Northland Soccer Journal)

On Tuesday, Minnesota trained at Allianz Field instead of the National Sports Center (NSC) in Blaine. Three players nursing injuries Jordan Adebayo-Smith, Moses Nyeman, and Hassani Dotson all trained separately.

The rest of the team did a fun 6v2 rondo and defense drill that pitted two groups (about eight players each) against each other. Loïc Mesanvi from MNUFC2 joined the senior team for training after his late goal for the Twos this past Sunday.

After training was over, Eric Ramsay measured the upcoming match with LA: ” We’re again not sort of naive enough to think that it’s a game that we’re going to be completely dominant with a ball and be in the 60s and 70s [percent] possession-wise. That’s just not going to be the case because of the quality of players that they have and the way in which they like to play the game.”

However, the coach countered, “We want to have the ball. We want to be be dominant in that sense, but in the moment that we haven’t got it, you have to take your medicine a little bit there and accept that [LA Galaxy] they’re a good team. We’ve got to try and disrupt their rhythm as best we can and stop them getting the ball to their front players. And then when we’ve got it, we’ve got to make sure that we have our fair share, and we’re really purposeful with how we use it.”


Minnesota United midfielder Robin Lod (17) dribbles the ball during the match against Sporting KC at Allianz Field in Saint Paul, Minn., on Saturday, April 27, 2024. (Photo by Seth Steffenhagen/Steffenhagen Photography)

Key Players


Despite the absences listed above, Minnesota United has a lot of players available going into a crowded run of games. Robin Lod was subbed off as a precaution at half in Atlanta, but Ramsay says that he’s good to go this week. Lod has 3 goals and 7 assists in 9 starts.

Backup keeper Clint Irwin played the first half of the MNUFC2 match on Sunday and should be back after being held out of the last two senior matches with a thigh injury. Defender Zarek Valentin, who also missed several MLS games with a thigh injury, played most of the game with MNUFC2 and participated in full training on Tuesday.

Minnesota United forward Tani Oluwaseyi (14) passes the ball during the match against Real Salt Lake at Allianz Field in Saint Paul, Minn., on Saturday, April 6, 2024.
(Photo by Seth Steffenhagen/Steffenhagen Photography)

Tani Oluwaseyi has scored in three straight matches. He joins Teemu Pukki, Robin Lod, Darwin Quintero, and Kevin Molino as the only Loons to accomplish this feat. While Molino scored in three straight matches on two separate occasions, Oluwaseyi could become the first Loon to score in four straight this Wednesday. Oluwaseyi also has 2 assists this season.

Bongokuhle Hlongwane and Teemu Pukki have 2 goals each, but have not scored recently. If they come off the bench on Wednesday, can they get back to their scoring ways? The last time Minnesota United played the Galaxy, Pukki scored four goals in a Loons win which eliminated the LA Galaxy from the playoffs.

Eric Ramsay was asked to compare Tani Oluwaseyi and Teemu Pukki’s work rates. While he admitted that “Tani is in a different Stage of his career,” he fought against emphasizing age differences: “Whenever I talk about Tani in those terms, it’s not in contrast to Teemu because Teemu equally gives us real energy.” The coach continued, “He always always empties himself out on the pitch; he always pushes. And I think it’s almost a lazy stereotype for people to think that Teemu at his age isn’t someone who’s going to contribute in that way.”

Camera operator (KSTP) sets up a microphone as Eric Ramsay chats with a PR Specialist at Allianz Field (Photo by Matthew Johnson, Northland Soccer Journal)

LA Galaxy

Greg Vanney tends to run a 4-3-3. The front three of Joseph Paintsil (4 G, 5 A),  Dejan Joveljić (6 G, 2 A), and Gabriel Pec (3 G, 1 A) have plenty to keep the Loons backline busy. Just behind those three, Spanish talisman Ricardo “Riqui” Puig has 3 goals and 6 assists on the season.

Coach Eric Ramsay pointed out similarities in defending Atlanta and LA’s potent attacks: “In one sense, there’s a lot of transfer between the Atlanta [United] game and this game [LA Galaxy]. Largely there will be a lot of similar messages. I think you’ve seen that we’re a pretty cohesive unit. We really relish the challenge to take away space from top players. Fingers crossed we can do that tomorrow because you’re really going to need to do that against them. For me, that’s one of, if not the best set of front players I’ve seen so far.”

Minnesota United defender Michael Boxall (15) takes a penalty kick during the MNUFC vs Deportivo Toluca FC Leagues Cup match on Tuesday, August 8, 2023 at Allianz Field in St. Paul, Minnesota. (Photo by Michael Lake / Lake Photography)

Michael Boxall also spoke of LA’s attacking players: “They were busy in the winter, got them some high-profile players.” He then shifted to Minnesota’s defense: “It’s just adapting for what we’ve done the last 10 weeks. We need to stay compact, deny time and space in the middle. We need our wide players to to deal with them 1v1, kind of manage that, and then me, Kervin [Arriaga], Mickey [Tapias] can be ready for the crosses.”

Loons Miscellany

Emanuel Reynoso was spotted in the stands at the MNUFC2 game on Sunday. For details on Reynoso’s return to Minnesota, check out Andy Greder’s work in the Pioneer Press:

Michael Boxall emphasized that there are no distractions in the locker room: “haven’t seen him, out of sight, out of mind.”

Ramsay has spoken with Reynoso “briefly” and remarked, “I think he wants to come back and work hard.” Yet, the coach is focused on current squad and current schedule: “We’re going into a really busy period of games where we’re playing every three days. It seems we’re really moving in the right direction. There’s really good energy around a team.” He concluded, “It’s not me being evasive in any sense when I say that we’re focusing on the players that we’ve got in front of us.”

Allianz Field interior from the Southwest corner of the concourse: a lawn care tractor tends to the grass. The seats are empty. The Brew Hall and manual clock/scoreboard are in the distance.
Allianz Field after training on Tuesday (Photo by Matthew Johnson, Northland Soccer Journal)

Busy Schedule

Wednesday, the Loons host the LA Galaxy; Saturday, they welcome the Portland Timbers. After six days off, they have three games in eight days: away at Colorado, away at LAFC, and home on June 1 to play Kansas City for the second time.

Ramsay emphasized squad depth: “We’re in a good position already in the sense that we’ve used a lot of the squad. It’s not like we’ve been reliant on 11 or 12 players for the entirety of the season. So far, everyone feels very connected to the project.” He later added, “There’s no one who’s really short of minutes in the leg. So I think I’m in a nice position, and I’ve probably got between say 18 and 22 players to pick from across the two games [LA and Portland].”

The busy-ness starts this Wednesday at Allianz Field against the LA Galaxy. We at NSJ hope to see you there.


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