Minnesota United 2020 Fantasy Preview
In 2019 Minnesota United changed from a team with a free-flowing offense and giving defense, to one of the stingier units in the league with multiple, dependable fantasy options along their defensive front. The 2019 version of Minnesota allowed 28 fewer goals in 2019 than in 2018. They also achieved the goals set out by Coach Adrian Heath and the three year plan, making it to the playoffs for the first time. Most analysts have them returning to the playoffs again this year on the strength of returning all 6 of their defensive core.
Adrian Heath returns for his fourth year at the helm. His preferred formation has been the 4-2-3-1. He had been discussed as an offensive guru and forward whisperer but has really failed to deliver on developing talent along the front line. While the defensive solidity got them to the playoffs, this seems like a make or break year for Heath, the offense, and Minnesota United as a whole.
Tactics & Key Players
There have been quite a few big-name departures from Minnesota United and nothing of the same caliber, on paper anyway, joining the team. DP attackers Angelo Rodriguez and Darwin Quintero have taken their lackluster output away from Minnesota. On paper, they’ll be replaced by returning from injury Kevin Molino and a combination of surprise U-23 star Mason Toye and newcomer Luis Amarilla. Abu Danladi and Miguel Ibarra have also moved on to new MLS teams. The final impactful departure is that of Vito Mannone, who was a highly fantasy useable option last season. He’ll be replaced between the sticks by Tyler Miller of former LAFC fame who should be a useable replacement.
This MLS offseason has been pretty bananas on the transfer market in a good way, but Minnesota has been pretty quiet. Unless they bring in Bebelo Reynoso to play as their number 10, it will have been a pretty quiet offseason. This seems to be getting less and less likely, but keep your eyes open for news.
With the back 6 minus the goalkeeper all returning, MNUFC will hop to continue their run as a defensive powerhouse. Heath figures to stick with the 4-2-3-1, so the key will figuring out how to use that defensive solidity as a platform to launch counter attacks through their wingers. A lot likely rides on Molino’s health. He was a great real life and fantasy asset in Orlando when healthy a few years ago. The offense only manage 1 goal per game in their final 11 games of last season, so fantasy players need to make sure their vision of MNUFC is up to date.
Tyler Miller figures to start in goal. He certainly figures to be a useable option after being a top fantasy keeper for most of last year with LAFC. Again, with that solid front six in front of him he should be well protected to pick up clean sheets.
My expectation would be that this relative quietness should translate into some good values across the pitch. Opara and Metanaire are likely to be max price players, with good reason, but the Minnesota defense as a whole, so buying into the (likely cheaper) left side of defense in Boxall and Gasper, should provide good value.
Gregus, the only true DP currently on the roster should continue to factor in as a high floor, medium high ceiling play during DGW.
In the attack, Kevin Molino is (hopefully) another year healthier and he fills the stat sheet when he plays. I personally don’t care much for wingers in FMLS and while Finlay has been streaky at times, he’s hard to count on week to week for me.
Finlay and Lod were both streaky last year and could offer good value as a switch or autoroo during their hot streaks. Minnesota figures to play on the counter which should offer involvement for these wingers.
On the forward line, Toye and Amarilla figure to be mid to low price options, on a historically useful offensive team, though with questions as previously documented. My main concern with Toye will be if he can establish himself between potential Olympic Qualifying stints.
At only 19, I basically know nothing about Thomas Chacon besides that he is a young DP. As the Fantasy Footballers always say: follow the money for the opportunity. Minnesota will likely be a week to week proposition with few starting spots truly locked down, but with the new $125 budget to start the year, you can have the flexibility to wait and see who emerges.
Potential Starting XI