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Stingy NYCFC sets sights on Minnesota United

Sportsnaut
Mar 19, 2022; New York, New York, USA; New York City forward Heber (9) controls the ball against the Philadelphia Union during the second half at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

New York City FC will try to become just the fourth team in MLS history to record six consecutive shutouts when they face Minnesota United on Saturday night at Saint Paul, Minn.

NYCFC, the defending MLS Cup champions, tied a club record with their fifth consecutive shutout in a 1-0 victory over the visiting Chicago Fire on Sunday and have allowed one total shot on goal over the last three games.

Goalkeeper Sean Johnson, called into U.S. men’s national team camp on Friday, leads MLS with seven shutouts.

NYCFC (7-3-2, 23 points) hasn’t allowed a goal in MLS action since April 24 when they defeated Toronto FC 5-4 in a home game at Citi Field.

Brazilian striker Heber scored on a penalty kick in the 23rd minute for the lone goal in Sunday’s win over Chicago. Johnson finished with one save.

“Defensively it was very good,” NYCFC coach Ronny Deila said. “Everybody was organized, and we didn’t give away anything.”

The Los Angeles Galaxy were the last MLS team to post six clean consecutive shutouts, accomplishing the feat from Oct. 2, 2009 thru April 10, 2010.

Minnesota United (5-5-3, 18 points) ended a four-game winless streak (0-3-1) with a 2-1 victory at FC Dallas on Sunday as Robin Lod scored a goal in his third straight MLS contest. No Loons player has ever scored in four consecutive MLS games.

However, Minnesota limps into the contest following a 2-1 home loss to Union Omaha, a USL League One team, on Wednesday in a U.S Open Cup Round of 16 match that ranks as one of the worst losses in franchise history. Lod and star playmaker Emanuel Reynoso both sat out the contest.

“Embarrassing,” Loons coach Adrian Heath said. “Looked like they wanted it more than we did tonight, which is a poor reflection on us.”

Deila said his team — which is one point behind the first-place Philadelphia Union in the Eastern Conference standings and comes in off an impressive 1-0 win over New England on Wednesday in the U.S. Open Cup — can’t overlook the Loons.

“That doesn’t affect anything,” Deila said of Minnesota United’s surprising loss. “They have a clear style of play. They are a tough team to meet and fight against. … We need to do as we always do, prepare well, be mentally and physically ready and go out and execute.”

–Field Level Media