PREVIEW | United Looks To Pick Up First Ever Win Against The Cosmos In Midweek Clash

Minnesota heads to New York for a Wednesday night match with both sides in good form
Minnesota United Staff | Aug 5, 2015

Minnesota United are scoring in bunches, with 11 goals in the past three matches. Both United’s Ibson and Christian Ramirez have scoring streaks of their own. Ibson has found the back of the net in three consecutive while Ramirez has the done the same in four. The hot scoring core of Minnesota United will match up against the stingy defense of the New York Cosmos this Wednesday in an important midweek match.

“It's part of a tough group of games on the road – this is the third one, so it kind of ends that cycle, but it also is the middle of a cycle of three games in eight days so it's important for us to understand that we're playing against a very good opponent, obviously the Spring Season Champion and a team that we respect,” Minnesota United Head Coach Manny Lagos said. “We think that Wednesday is going to be a great challenge for us, and we're excited about it. We're excited to go there and show the way we've been playing lately on the field.”

The Cosmos have clinched a place in the NASL postseason tournament, after finishing a dominant Spring Season campaign with a trophy in hand. Since then, the Cosmos have struggled. The Cosmos began the Fall Season with two points in three matches, and earned their first win of the new season this past Saturday against Fort Lauderdale. In that match, the Cosmos scored two goals for the first time since June. Despite difficulties in front of the net, the Cosmos have been strong in back, and chances for their opponents have come few and far between.


Front to back, the New York Cosmos are one of the most dangerous clubs in the league. With 22 goals scored and just 12 goals conceded, the Cosmos lead the NASL in defense and are near the top in goals scored. Led by a veteran defensive line that is organized and can spring forward in attack, the Cosmos are not easily broken down. The Cosmos push their outside backs forward on attack and are especially dangerous on the left side with Ayoze. who is quick and accurate with the ball.

New York passes the ball well, and very rarely looks for a long ball over the top. The Cosmos build out of the back and attempt to find the feet of Raúl whenever possible. They can spring from midfield to an attacking position as fast as any team in the NASL and are punishingly accurate in front of net.


Christian Ramirez – The Minnesota United forward is riding a fantastic streak into this midweek game, having scored a goal in his last four matches. Ramirez has been excellent in the final third, not only finishing his chances, but bringing teammates into the match through his distribution. He was also named Player of the Month for July.

Ibson – Another United player bringing a streak into Wednesday’s match, Ibson has three goals in three matches for the Loons this Fall Season. The Brazilian sensation started his year with the Loons relatively slowly, recovering from an injury and learning to play with his new teammates. Since the beginning of the Fall Season he has been superb. Ibson scored the game-tying goal last weekend in Jacksonville to save a point from the road trip in the 83rd minute.

Raúl –The Spanish legend broke scoring records playing for Real Madrid and has made an immediate impact in NASL play, helping the Cosmos earn the Spring Season Championship this past June. Minnesota United fans will remember Raúl by the late goal he scored to even things up in May and cost the Loons two points.

Walter Restrepo – Scoring twice for the Cosmos, the speedy winger is dangerous taking defenders on and opening up space for his teammates. Restrepo has been a staple in NASL since 2010, making a name for himself with the Fort Lauderdale Strikers before making the move last year to the San Antonio Scorpions and winning a championship there. This year, Restrepo joined the Cosmos and has added a new dynamic to a perennially dominant team.


On May 30, 2015, Minnesota United nearly earned three points against the Cosmos for the first time in club history, only to see a late Raúl goal level the match. That goal led to a tumble-roll downhill in which the Loons went four matches before earning their next win and fell out of contention for the Spring Season Championship.

The Loons are rising once again, though, scoring goals and playing very balanced and flowing soccer. Minnesota has moved the ball well these past few weeks, scoring from set pieces, crosses, through balls and on the counter. With seven points in three matches, United brings momentum with it to New York, in a difficult match against an opponent that has historically gotten the better of it.

Minnesota is sitting just outside the postseason bubble, with a game in hand and tied in points with the Carolina RailHawks at 22. The Loons can’t be content with good form – there is room to improve and progress needs to be made if they are to contend for The Championship, the NASL’s four-team postseason tournament, this November.

Defensively, United has given up 23 goals – good for the fourth most in the NASL. Minnesota has been dominant in possession for most of the season, but susceptible on the counter. It will be a focus on Wednesday to close those gaps and make every chance a difficult one for its opponents.

“In the moment right now it's important for us to play well on both sides of the ball and continue to get better defensively – we haven't had our best defensive showings in the last two games,” Lagos said. “It's important that as we continue to go forward and create chances that we're also hungry to play well defensively.”

The Cosmos earned their first win of the Fall Season on Saturday and will also be looking to build on a bit of momentum, making this an interesting and important match for both clubs. The match kicks off at 8:30 p.m. ET on Wednesday, August 5, at Shuart Stadium. 

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