MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — If you need a scouting report on a team Minnesota United’s never played before, just ask midfielder Miguel Ibarra — he has.
“Tenth minute, they gave me the ball, I just cut inside and hit it and it went in. And it was just an amazing feeling getting my first Liga MX goal,” Ibarra said.
Two years ago, back when Ibarra was playing in the Mexican League, he made his first start, and scored his first goal, against the very Atlas team Minnesota will face Saturday night.
“We’re just expecting for them to give it their all. This is their last preseason game before their league game, so it’s gonna be a tough game,” Ibarra said.
Minnesota coach Adrian Heath has great respect for the style of play they’re about to face.
“The one thing I know about any Mexican team that I’ve ever played, I think technically and tactically, they’re first class. As good as anybody you’ll ever play,” Heath said. “They grow up playing the game from a very tiny age, it’s a football crazy nation, and the players have integrated into the clubs very early, so they’ve got a really good understanding of the game, they’re very game-savvy.”
With another MLS match four days from now, Minnesota will likely dig into its bench quite a bit tonight. Which might be kind of fitting, with the opponent being such an attraction anyway.
“It’ll be a big test for the guys,” Heath said. “But it’s a good opportunity for people to come and see a top class team who plays in a top class league. And it will be a difficult evening for us, I have no doubt.”