West-leading Minnesota United set to visit Union

ByField Level Media ESPN logo
Friday, March 29, 2024

The Philadelphia Union look to ride the momentum of their first win of the season into Saturday afternoon's encounter against fellow unbeaten side Minnesota United in Chester, Pa.

Julian Carranza scored two goals to pace the Union (1-0-3, 6 points) to a 3-1 victory over the Portland Timbers last Saturday. Homegrown midfielder Quinn Sullivan also tallied and backup goalkeeper Oliver Semmle made seven saves for Philadelphia, which had little room for error with six starters on international duty.

"Four games, we want more wins, of course, but we haven't been beaten yet," Union coach Jim Curtin said. "Now we get to go home after playing three out of four league games on the road. We're pretty good there."

While Philadelphia has played to a draw in its lone home match this season, it posted a 10-1-6 record last season on home turf.

Minnesota (3-0-1, 10 points) totaled five goals to win its first two road encounters before recording a 2-0 victory at home over Los Angeles FC in its last match on March 16. Bongokuhle Hlongwane and Robin Lod each scored a goal to join Teemu Pukki with a team-leading two tallies on the season.

The Loons went into their bye by savoring the flavor of presenting coach Eric Ramsay his first victory with the team. The former Manchester United assistant remained in England for the opening three matches of 2024 while awaiting his work visa.

"You want him to start off on the right foot," Loons veteran defender Michael Boxall said of Ramsay, per the Minneapolis Star Tribune. "You want to win it for him, as opposed to just another game at home that we expect to win with the energy we have. Everyone stuck to their jobs."

Hlongwane scored two goals in the Loons' last meeting with the Union in a U.S. Open Cup match on May 9 last year. The teams played to a 3-3 finish before Minnesota won 7-6 on penalty kicks.

--Field Level Media