Minnesota United 2023 MLS season preview: Tactics, predicted XI, predictions

As established MLS Cup Playoffs contenders, Minnesota United enter the 2023 season looking to go one step further with a genuine challenge for silverware.

For the fourth year in a row, the Loons reached the Playoffs. However, just like in three of those previous four, they crashed out in Round One, while they’ve never gone beyond the Western Conference Semi-Finals.

However, with an established core of key players, Adrian Heath has all the experience and quality he needs to turn this group of nearly men into a top-class MLS outfit.

So, here’s everything you need to know about Minnesota United ahead of the new MLS season, including tactics, key players, and predictions.

Transfers in


Former Club


Mikael Marques

AFC Eskilstuna


Cameron Dunbar

LA Galaxy


Doneil Henry

Toronto FC

Free transfer

Zarek Valentin

Houston Dynamo

Free transfer

Clint Irwin

Colorado Rapids

Free transfer

Ryen Jiba

Union Omaha


Miguel Tapias



Joseph Rosales

CA Independiente


Transfers out


Club Joined


Aziel Jackson

St. Louis CITY SC


Tyler Miller

DC United

Free transfer

Niko Hansen

San Antonio FC

Free transfer

Roman Metanire


Abu Danladi


Jacori Hayes


Oniel Fisher


Callum Montgomery


Justin McMaster


Nabi Kibunguchy


Once again, Adrian Heath lined up in a 4-2-3-1 formation for the majority of the season and, as usual, his principles were simple. Minnesota United stayed compact and hard to beat, moved the ball forward quickly when they won it back, and ran most of their attacking moves through Emanuel Reynoso.

In fact, Reynoso’s 72 chances created and 782 attempted passes into the final third left him at least 28 and 367, respectively, clear of any other MNUFC player.

Heath loves a good No.10 to pull the strings and when it works, it’s devastating, even if it does make his side a little predictable at times. But don’t expect the Englishman to change any time soon.

Minnesota United predicted XI (4-2-3-1): St. Clair; Benitez, Tapias, Dibassy, Lawrence; Trapp, Arriaga; Fragapane, Reynoso, Lod; Amarilla.

Emanuel Reynoso holds the key for Minnesota United.

Emanuel Reynoso holds the key for Minnesota United. / Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Emanuel Reynoso

Now, before we start, it must be stated that Emanuel Reynoso is currently suspended by MLS for failing to report for preseason. However, Heath and Minnesota United have long maintained he’s dealing with a personal issue, so we should see him back pretty soon.

Provided that’s the case, you can expect the Argentine to be dictating Minnesota United’s attack and causing havoc for opposition defenders.

Heath has challenged Reynoso to score more goals in the past and last season, he hit a career-high 11 in the regular season alone. Given his ability to open up defenses from pretty much anywhere on the field, that’s a terrifying addition to an already incredible skillset.

If Reynoso returns pronto and if he’s fully focused on the task at hand, there’s no reason to suggest Minnesota United cannot at least match their average performance over the last few years.

The above sentence should, of course, illustrate just how important Reynoso is to this team, though. Without him, they have quality but the task of breaking open a tight game becomes so much harder.

Let’s see what happens, but they should be okay.

Will Minnesota United qualify for the MLS Cup Playoffs? Yes