Facing former side Columbus, Ethan Finlay aiming to "beat them pretty bad"

Ethan Finlay - Minnesota United FC - Close up

Minnesota United FC will host Columbus Crew SC on Saturday (8 pm ET | TV & streaming info), as two midwestern teams that haven't really forged a rivalry so far square off.

But Ethan Finlay may be ready to bring a little spice to the match.

The winger, who began his professional career with Columbus after being drafted by them in 2012, before being traded to Minnesota during the 2017 season, admitted he has extra motivation for the game.

“I wore the colors and the crest for six-and-a-half years, they're the team that drafted me and I'm appreciative of what they've done for me and my family, but I'd be lying to you if I said I didn't want to beat up on them pretty bad,” Finlay said this week. “There's plenty of guys I know on that team that I still call friends but at the same time it's just another team for a lot of guys. I'll take the little chip on my shoulder personally and I'll probably have to store that away so I don't get too jacked up for this game."

While the teams are in the same region, the fact that Minnesota are in the Western Conference and Columbus the Eastern means they don't see each other on the field much, with the Crew holding a 2-0-0 record over the Loons all-time in league play.

Both teams are on a difficult run of late, with Columbus losing six of their last seven games, and Minnesota alternating results with no pattern.

But head coach Adrian Heath insists Minnesota have no reason to worry at this stage.

"There's only six teams that's scored more goals than us in the league. So are all them panicking? Probably not," he said. "We have created chances in games. Looking back at the last three home games, I can think of four or five clear-cut chances that we've had. Were we not creating anything, I might have more of a concern.”

Heath did say one item of motivation is to maintain Minnesota's unbeaten start (1-0-3) at home since opening Allianz Field. Personal motivations aside, Finlay agreed that Saturday's game is a big one for the Loons.

"It's another game, another opportunity to get three points, and they're a team that's struggling a little bit with a couple of losses and we have a great opportunity come Saturday,” he said.