Minnesota United FC vs. Columbus Crew SC Pick & Prediction MARCH 2nd 2024

Minnesota United remain confident heading into Saturday’s home opener against the Columbus Crew in Saint Paul, Minn., despite being without their coach on the sideline and potentially without two key players.

The Loons (1-0-0, 3 points) recorded a 2-1 victory at Austin FC last Saturday under interim head coach Cameron Knowles.

“It should give the guys a lot of belief in knowing the way they can play,” Knowles said. “We know that the energy in the stadium is going to be fantastic on the weekend. To get off to a start like we did and get three points and the only MLS team to win on the road should give us a lot of confidence and energy.”

On Monday, Minnesota named Manchester United assistant coach Eric Ramsay, 32, as the permanent coach to replace Adrian Heath, who was fired four months ago.

Ramsay, who became the youngest head coach in the MLS, will not join the Loons for several more weeks.

Crew forward Christian Ramirez was impressed with Knowles.

“They’ve bought into (Knowles),” he said. “They work really hard defensively. They picked their moments offensively down in Austin. Historically they haven’t been a great road team but at home they perform really well. Their crowd backs them.

“Now that they have a new manager coming, they’re playing to show what they can bring. They know he’s watching so it’s a team with nothing to lose, really.”

The Crew (1-0-0, 3 points) opened with a 1-0 home win versus Atlanta United. Cucho Hernandez’s goal allowed the Crew to become just the third MLS Cup champion in the past eight seasons to win their first match the following season.

“We’ve got to go toe-to-toe with them,” Knowles said. “If you want to be the best you’ve got to beat the best and right now, they’re the best team in our league.”

Minnesota will be without forward Bongokuhle Hlongwane. He is getting in shape after missing part of the preseason while in South Africa obtaining his U.S. green card.

Standout midfielder Emmanuel Reynoso has been hampered by a knee injury. Knowles said it is unlikely Reynoso will play on Saturday.

–Field Level Media

Docsports, The most trusted name in sports handicapping