Minnesota United head coach Adrian Heath will have next week’s meeting with Vancouver Whitecaps in mind when selecting his line-up for Saturday’s trip to Colorado Rapids.

The Loons have started their 2023 MLS campaign with four points from games against FC Dallas and New York Red Bulls, but they will soon lose six players to international duty.

Dayne St. Clair, Robin Lod, Michael Boxall, Bongokuhle Hlongwane, Kervin Arriaga and Joseph Rosales have been called up by their countries and will miss the Vancouver game.

With that in mind, Heath will rest players who otherwise may have started against the Rapids at DSG Park.

“It’s not ideal, but we will pick the team in Colorado with that in mind and work from there,” he said. “What I won’t do is jeopardize people I know will be here for the following week.

“Maybe they get injured and then you’re more men down. We’ll take that into consideration when we pick the line-up for the weekend.”

Colorado have made a slow start to the season, taking just one point from the first nine on offer and failing to find the net.

However, head coach Robin Fraser is confident his side – who finished 10th in the Western Conference last season – will soon click into gear in an attacking sense.

“We know that we have some good attacking players, but in those moments, we need to be able to take half-chances and turn them into real chances,” he said.

“I think a bit of that is just our mentality. We certainly have players who are good, and we certainly have players who have scored goals and scored lots of goals in this league.

“We just need to make up our mind and be more resolute that we’re going to be more threatening because we do put ourselves in some decent positions.”


Colorado Rapids – Bryan Acosta

Acosta made his first MLS appearance of the season in last week’s loss to San Jose Earthquakes and led the Rapids with nine tackles, providing some much-needed steel in central midfield.

That was the most tackles by a Rapids player since April 2017 (Dillon Powers with 11 v Orlando City), while he also led the way for key passes (two), showing just how important he is to the side.

Minnesota United – Bongokuhle Hlongwane

Hlongwane is one of those who will jet off on international duty following Saturday’s match, having been called up by South Africa, so he is expected to start against Colorado.

The 22-year-old scored in Minnesota’s draw with the Red Bulls, making him the first South African to score in successive MLS seasons since Danleigh Borman for the Red Bulls (2008, 2009 and 2010).


United ended last season with five successive away losses, although they did snap that run with victory at FC Dallas last time out on their travels.

While opponents Colorado have made a slow start to the season, they are unbeaten in six home meetings with Minnesota and have won each of the last five of those.

The Rapids are also unbeaten in nine at DSG Park, most recently holding Sporting Kansas City to a goalless draw there, making it a very tough place to go.


Rapids42.3 per cent

Minnesota 29.2 per cent

Draw28.5 per cent