Last weekend saw the rare example of the real-life Minnesota United performing worse than the squad of misfits I run out onto the field in the Simulator. The bright spot was that the resulting loss earned me enough money to sneak off the Big Top roof and buy a bottle of Karkov. I’m ready to make another go at this and simulate Don Garber’s worst nightmare: Minnesota United vs. DC United.
Because of international call-ups, I needed to switch the formation to a 4-4-1-1 with Thomas de Villardi added to the back, someone named Tanner Thompson in midfield, and Chris Rolfe getting his second virtual start in a row.
I instructed the team to really go after it, because if we lose to DC United, I (like my real-life counterpart) will most likely be fired. The decision nearly paid off before ten minutes had gone by, when Rolfe smashed the ball into the crossbar from outside the box.
The two teams swapped less-than-terrible chances throughout the first half until the 40th minute. Miguel Ibarra took a corner that bounced off a few heads in the box. It fell into space and Collin Martin ran up on it, his shot taking a deflection and sailed past Bill Hamid, who was running the other way. No offense to Martin, but this program doesn’t simulate as realistically as was advertised…
After the rare halftime in which I didn’t have to raise the team’s spirits and spur them to a comeback, the Loons came out flying. Brent Kallman sent a 49th minute free kick just pas the upper right corner with his head and the home United controlled much of the play in the early second half.
Minnesota was at it again in the 59th minute, when some uncharacteristically good passing sent Kevin Venegas on a run into the box. His cross was hit perfectly on the volley by Rolfe and the good United was up 2-0. I celebrated harder than the players knowing that I would be keeping my job for another week.
Midway through trying to change the tactics to a more defensive approach, Kevin Venegas took a free kick from the top of the penalty area. He aimed it over the wall and it hit the underside of the crossbar and bounced into the net. The boys were making me look like a genius.
The Loons ran out the rest of the clock by passing around the midfield and launching balls over the top to Christian Ramirez, whose goal drought is apparently set to continue. The final whistle blew and Minnesota had finally taken their opportunity to prove that they weren’t the worst United in the league this year.
The simulation science tells us that Saturday’s game will be the exact opposite of last Saturday’s; a 3-0 win at home to calm the fans down after the heat seemed to get to their heads. That being said, if the other United comes out on top this weekend, there might be full-blown riots. For the sake of my wallet and the windows of Dinkytown’s small businesses, I hope the Loons can find a way to victory.