ST. PAUL — If Minnesota United beats the Colorado Rapids on Saturday, June 8, the Loons will set a club record for road wins in a single season.
A victory would make United 4-5-0 in away games with eight left to play. The Loons were 1-14-2 on the road last season and 3-12-2 in away games as an expansion club in 2017.
Minnesota continues to concede goals on the road, an average of 2.12 in eight games compared to a one-goal average allowed in matches at Allianz Field. United surrendered 2.5 goals per road game in 2017 and 2.7 last year.
Minnesota has a list of bad road losses this season: the Los Angeles Galaxy (3-2) New England (2-1) in March followed Toronto (4-3) in April and Chicago (2-0) in May. Colorado seems beatable after earning just two points in its first 11 games, but interim coach Conor Casey has them 3-0-1.
Former Loons midfielder Sam Nicholson has an assist in each of his last two games.
“I expect us to go there and put on a really good performance,” United coach Adrian Heath said.
The Loons earned their first MLS road point at Colorado, a 2-2 draw in March 2017.
During a light training session Wednesday, Darwin Quintero, Angelo Rodriguez, Miguel Ibarra, and Hassani Dotson were among players focused on finishing drills — a conspicuous issue this season. Loons attackers have three of the team’s six combined goals in the past eight games.
“Top, world-class strikers have had barren spells in their career,” Heath said. “What you’ve got to do is keep getting in there. That’s the strong mental part.”
Attacking midfielder Kevin Molino has Minnesota’s most recent goal, a 77th-minute finish Sunday, but he’s leaving for Trinidad and Tobago’s national team play in the CONCACAF Gold Cup. They’re set to play Panama at Allianz Field on June 18 as part of a double-header. The U.S. will play Guyana in the other match.
Darwin Quintero is without a goal for 521 consecutive minutes. He missed an open shot in Sunday’s 3-2 loss to Philadelphia but was more dangerous creating opportunities for other players in the opening 25 minutes.
“We got him on the ball, and I think he started to play quicker and started to move the ball quicker,” Heath said. “He started to get … guys running ahead of the ball. Hopefully, this will be a breakout game for him.”
With starting central midfielder Jan Gregus with Slovakia and backup Rasmus Schuller with Finland on national team duties, Heath said Dotson, Collin Martin and Lawrence Olum are possible replacements for the missing duo on Saturday.
“We’ll be OK,” Heath said. “I have no qualms about putting those three players I just mentioned in the team.”
Olum and Martin, who has returned from a loan with USL Championship side Hartford Athletic, each played 90 minutes in a scrimmage against the USL’s Des Moines Menace Tuesday in Blaine.
Dotson has played fullback for the Loons in the past three games and scored his first career goal in Sunday’s 3-2 loss to Philadelphia. Minnesota drafted Dotson with the 31st pick in the January SuperDraft and plan to play him midfield.
With Romain Metanire with Madagascar’s national team, other options at fullback include Eric Miller and Chase Gasper, who is coming back from a hamstring injury. He played 60 minutes against Des Moines.
Forward Abu Danladi didn’t scrimmage Tuesday because he’s nursing a hamstring injury suffered late against Philadelphia. The team hopes he can play Saturday. “We don’t think it’s anything too serious,” Heath said.
With TV color commentator Kyndra de St. Aubin away to call the Women’s World Cup, sideline reporter Jamie Watson will join play-by-play broadcaster Callum Williams as the analyst for Saturday’s game.
Gregus and Slovakia play Jordan in a friendly Friday, while Schuller and Finland play Bosnia and Herzegovina in a European Championship qualifier Saturday.
Heath said the hope is backup goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth is on the tail end of rehabbing his knee injury.
Former United fitness coach Jarryd Phillips has been hired by new New England Revolution coach Bruce Arena.