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Nine numbers that show Minnesota United’s struggles in 2022

The Loons’ lack of goal scoring has been glaring and bringing them down, but goalkeeper Dayne St. Clair has stepped up as a primary protagonist

MLS: LA Galaxy at Minnesota United FC
Minnesota United midfielder Emanuel Reynoso lunges for the ball during the second half against the Los Angeles Galaxy Wednesday, May 18, 2022, at Allianz Field in St. Paul.
Matt Krohn / USA Today Sports
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One-third of the MLS season in the books, and Minnesota United needs a plot twist.

It’s been the same old story: The Loons’ lack of goal scoring has been glaring and bringing them down, but goalkeeper Dayne St. Clair has stepped up as a primary protagonist, with shot-stopping that has kept his club from an even worse start.

Minnesota (4-5-3) will look to flip the script against FC Dallas (6-4-2) at 6 p.m. Sunday in Frisco, Texas.

Going into this weekend’s games, here are nine key numbers on Minnesota’s position:

MORE MINNESOTA LOONS COVERAGE:
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One of Dayne St. Clair’s first soccer memories is from roughly 20 years ago with him juggling a plastic balloon at his grandmother’s home in the Toronto area. The young Canadian wasn’t yet good enough with his feet to keep a heavier soccer ball aloft; he needed an inflatable orb that would hang in the air a bit longer.
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HOUSTON — Bongokuhle Hlongwane had a goal and an assist Saturday night as Minnesota United FC grabbed a 2-1 victory over the host Houston Dynamo.
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Seven field players have played at least 90% of the minutes across the five MLS matches since June 25. Two more, for a total of nine, have been on the field at least 78% of the game action in that span.
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Reynoso is heating up again, and the Argentine star has propelled the Loons to consecutive wins for the first time since mid-April.
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If the goalkeeper isn’t voted in, he can be added by United manager Adrian Heath
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Minnesota United also working to send forward Adrien Hunou back to France
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Minnesota (5-7-3) were 5-1-1 when scoring first goal this season, but that positive run gave way to New England (6-5-5) extending its unbeaten in eight straight league games.
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ST. PAUL — When Minnesota United scored an easy sixth-minute goal against Union Omaha on Wednesday, it looked like the top-flight MLS side would make quick work of the third-tier USL outfit in the U.S. Open Cup Round of 16 on Wednesday at Allianz Field.
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FRISCO, Texas — Minnesota United’s two goals Sunday came from the most-likely and the most-surprising sources.
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SEATTLE — Not only did Minnesota United lose again in Seattle on Sunday. The Loons coughed up another lead on the road to the Sounders.

1 — Difference between the Loons’ payroll rank in MLS (15th at $13.2 million, per MLS Players Association) and their spot in the Supporters Shield standings (16th with 15 points). In other words, Minnesota currently resides in the bottom half in the 28-team league in spending and returns on that investment.

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0.47 — The points-per-game gap MNUFC will need to make up in order to finish in the top four in the Western Conference and earn an MLS Cup Playoffs game at Allianz Field. (A home playoff game was the club’s stated objective in preseason.) The average points per game to reach the top four in the West is 1.55 over the past decade. Minnesota is currently at 1.25 and need to average 1.72 over the final 22 games to reach that mark.

“Obviously we’ve got a little bit to make up, but I’ve got a lot of faith in this group and there are a lot of points to play for,” manager Adrian Heath said. “We’ve had a particularly difficult start in terms of opposition.”

-10 — The amount of points United has dropped in seven home games this season, marking the worst home start since the club joined MLS in 2017. And this includes the Loons’ anemic opening two seasons, which were played at the Gophers’ football stadium.

Minnesota gave up a 93rd-minute goal in a 1-0 home loss to Cincinnati on May 7 in “probably the most frustrating game,” Heath said.

35 — Percentage of total MLS minutes that Luis Amarilla, Robin Lod, Franco Fragapane and Emanuel Reynoso have been on the field together this season. In preseason, they were penciled in as the primary front four attackers but have been on the field for just 337 of the 1,080 league minutes this season.

3 — Goals that MNUFC has scored with that front four on field together. Lod and Amarilla each tallied one, while defender Bakaye Dibassy notched the other on a Reynoso assist. That’s one goal for every 112 minutes.

-2.5 — The Loons have scored 13 goals, but have an expected goals stat of 15.5 this season, per fbref.com. Minnesota’s highest xG of the season (2.8) was the 1-1 draw with L.A. Galaxy on Wednesday.

“If we scored like three or four more goals everybody would (have) thought it was such a good and dominating game, but you can’t say that after how horrible we were finishing today, especially me included,” said Lod, who ended up scoring the game-tying goal in the 87th minute. He has a team-high five goals on the season.

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2 — The amount of MLS goals from the club’s high-priced Designated Player strikers Adrien Hunou ($2.68 million salary) and Luis Amarilla ($785,000). Excluding transfer fees, that a hefty $1.7 million per goal so far.

+5.2 — Dayne St. Clair leads MLS in expected goals minus goals conceded. Opponents have a total xG of 15.2 this season, but St. Clair has allowed only 10 in 10 games.

“He’s in a particularly rich vein of form,” Heath said.

If St. Clair wasn’t feeling that flow, its entirely possible two of Minnesota’s four wins come off the list (New York Red Bulls and Colorado Rapids) because both of those foes had xG over two, but the rising 25-year-old Canadian helped keep them to one goal or fewer.

27.3 — The average age of Minnesota’s roster, with ranks fourth-oldest in MLS. This team is built to win now, and, well, they are not getting it done at a high enough level so far.

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Related Topics: MINNESOTA UNITED FCSOCCER
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