Tactical breakdown: what to expect from two huge Decision Day games
Despite all the changes the Galaxy has gone through this season, there aren’t many surprises when it comes to MNUFC. Their open xG play is nearly identical from last season to this season, and their passes per possession and length of possession are nearly identical from 2020 to 2021.
Their main man in the attack is, of course, Reynoso. Reynoso is one of the highest volume players in MLS, which means he gets more hits every 90 minutes than almost any other player in the league. In 2021, Reynoso gets on the ball 64.8 times every 90 minutes, which is 15th in MLS and first for his team by a wide margin.
Reynoso’s role in possession is one thing that has changed for Minnesota this year – he gets the ball five more times every 90 minutes in 2021 compared to 2020. And Reynoso does impressive things with those extra touches. His 8.5 expected assists put him fifth in the league and his 0.32 expected assists per 90 minutes put him sixth in the league among regulars.
Yet despite how much the Loons revolve around Reynoso, he is far from their only impact player. Franco Fragapane has been a productive player for Adrian Heath, playing on the left side of the attack and regularly combining with Reynoso and creating chances himself. Fragapane is in the 91st percentile in MLS in total xA this season and in the 94th percentile in xA per 90 minutes.
Unlike Vanney and the Galaxy, Heath likes his Minnesota United side to lobby. Their 66.3 presses in the final third every 90 minutes are fifth in the league, but their 40.4% efficiency rating in the final third is only 13th in MLS – a spot below the Galaxy. LA’s desire to play through Minnesota United’s pressure and use the ball to create chances could be a big part of this Decision Day game, as will Reynoso’s ability to create chances against a defense. Galaxy in trouble.
While it’s impossible to predict how these two nationally televised games will play out, one thing is for sure: with playoff spots still up for grabs, decision day is going to be wild.