Mason Toye - Minnesota United - celebrates a goal at LAFC
Kelvin Kuo-USA Today Sports Images

Minnesota United see "huge opportunity" against LA Galaxy defense

BLAINE, Minn. –  Count Minnesota United attackers Ethan Finlay and Mason Toye among those looking forward to facing off against a LA Galaxy defense that hasn’t been great of late.

The Galaxy ended their season 3-4, while conceding 19 goals in those seven matches.

“The Galaxy are a team that provides world-class players in the attacking end, I mean, what team wouldn’t want a player like Zlatan [Ibrahimovic] up top? But besides those attacking players, they’re just like any other MLS team," Finlay said. “There’s a huge opportunity for us if we can take advantage of it. Whether that be early on, the counter or set pieces. There’s an opportunity that we need to take.”

While Minnesota aren't known for offensive outbursts, they’re trying to change that this weekend when they host the Galaxy in Round One of the Audi 2019 MLS Cup Playoffs (8:30 pm ET | ESPN in US; TVAS, TSN4 in Canada).

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“We’re going to score as many as it takes to the best of our ability. We’re going to come out of the game wanting to put the ball in the back of the net immediately,” Finlay said.

The Galaxy defense has conceded 59 goals on the season, higher than any other team in the 2019 Audi MLS Playoffs.

Stats aren’t fooling Loons manager Adrian Heath, though.

“Trust me, the Galaxy aren’t the Galaxy because they’ve won more trophies than anybody in MLS, they are going to bring it this weekend, big players and a big team, they come and bring it when it matters and I’ve got no doubt in my mind that we’re going to have to play really well to win the game on Sunday,” Heath said.

Fresh off a goal with the US Under-23 national team, Toye is hoping to put on a performance in front of a player he saw as an “idol” growing up in Ibrahimovic.

“He’s somebody I looked up to for sure, but once the whistle blows, he’s just another guy, he’s my opponent,” Toye said.

Heath outlined the Loons' game plan going into Sunday, with the team trying “one or two” formations in preparation. Heath said the team has “a lot to work with” and that the decisions on who plays will be “very difficult.”

“We’ve worked on a few things that wee think will help us and little areas where we think it will give us a little bit of an advantage,” Heath said.

Finlay says this has been “the best week of training” that the Loons have had all season. He highlighted the excitement between the players who haven’t been in a playoff position before.

More than anything, he thinks Minnesota are ready to take on offensively heavy team.

“I feel really good with where we’re at, the preparation has been good, the energy, the excitement and just the mood of every player here. We all know what the Galaxy can bring, but we also know what they lack. I think there’s some room for us to prepare in that sense,” Finlay said.

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