Matt Lampson -- Bastian Schweinsteiger -- Handshake
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Minnesota United FC vs. Chicago Fire | 2018 MLS Match Preview

Minnesota United FC vs. Chicago Fire
2018 MLS Regular Season – Week 3
TCF Bank Stadium - Minneapolis
2:00 pm ET – March 17, 2018

After going 1-1 in their first two games away from home to start the 2018 season, Minnesota United FC play their first game of the year at TCF Bank Stadium, while the Chicago Fire are certainly looking for a better defensive effort following a wild 4-3 season-opening loss at home to Sporting Kansas City.

Minnesota United FC  

It was an emotional return to Orlando for Minnesota United coach Adrian Heath, and a more satisfying result with the Loons, coming away with a 2-1 win Saturday night thanks to a pair of goals by Ethan Finlay, who was named to the Team of the Week presented by Audi for Week 2.

However, the good vibes of the season’s first win were gone two days later when it was learned midfielder Kevin Molino would miss the entire season with a torn left ACL. The 27-year-old was also sidelined for most of the 2015 campaign with Orlando City SC when he tore his right ACL.

While the Loons search for Molino’s replacement, Paul Tenorio reported on Tuesday the club is in hot pursuit of Club America striker Darwin Quintero, who can play on the wing or up top. General manager Manny Lagos and Heath jetted to Panama for America’s Concacaf Champions League game against Tauro FC.

  • Suspended: None
  • Suspended after next caution: None
  • Injury Report: OUT: M - Kevin Molino (torn left ACL), M - Sam Cronin (cervicogenic dysfunction), F - Abu Danladi (left hamstring strain); QUESTIONABLE: M - Sam Nicholson (left hamstring)

Projected Starting XI
(4-4-2, right to left)
GK: Matt Lampson — Tyrone Mears, Michael Boxall, Francisco Calvo, Jerome Thiesson — Rasmus Schuller, Ibson, Miguel Ibarra, Ethan Finlay — Christian Ramirez, Mason Toye

  • Notes: Last weekend marked the fifth time in his MLS career that Ethan Finlay recorded a brace, the first since Aug. 14, 2016 against NYCFC. Finlay has three goals in 13 previous games against Chicago. … Minnesota had five clean sheets at home last season, tied for the fifth-most in the Western Conference.

Chicago Fire

The Fire erased a two-goal deficit with three goals in a 12-minute span — including a brace by Nemanja Nikolic — but Jimmy Medranda and Felipe Gutierrez scored three minutes apart as Sporting Kansas City escaped Toyota Park with a wild 4-3 win to spoil the Fire’s season opener.

While it was a display of open attacking soccer, with Nikolic continuing where he left off a year ago and Aleksandar Katai scoring on his impressive debut, Bastian Schweinsteiger is looking for his team to be more “Italian-like” to protect a late one-goal lead like the one frittered away vs. SKC.

  • Suspended: None
  • Suspended after next caution: None
  • Injury Report: OUT: M - Djordje Mihailovic (right ACL surgery), F - Michael de Leeuw (left ACL surgery), D - Jonathan Campbell (facial fracture), D - Grant Lillard; QUESTIONABLE: M - Daniel Johnson (right ankle), D - Rafael Ramos (right thigh), GK - Richard Sanchez (left elbow), F - Luis Solignac (left hip)

Projected Starting XI
(4-2-3-1, right to left)
GK: Richard Sanchez — Matt Polster, Johan Kappelhof, Christian Dean, Brandon Vincent — Dax McCarty, Tony Tchani — Aleksandar Katai, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Luis Solignac — Nemanja Nikolic

  • Notes: The Fire scored three goals in their season-opening 4-3 loss last weekend, the 16th time in franchise history they have scored three times or more in a match and did not win (8L-8D). It was the first time this had happened since June 22, 2016. … Chicago conceded multiple goals on the road 11 times last season, the fourth-most of any team in the Eastern Conference.

All-Time Series

  • There is just one previous meeting, with Minnesota United FC defeating Chicago Fire, 2-1, Aug. 26, 2017 at Toyota Park.


Referee: Alex Chilowicz
Assistant Referees: Jason White, Felisha Mariscal
4th Official: Baldomero Toldeo
VAR: Kevin Terry Jr.