The second half of June has been very successful for Vito Mannone over at Minnesota United with the MLS side picking up five wins in their last five in all competitions. In our last loan report, Minnesota had just lost 3-2 at home to Philadelphia Union. That was followed up by a 1-0 defeat away at Colorado, but since then the turnaround in form has been spectacular for the Loons.
Winning two rounds of the US Open Cup - 4-1 against Sporting Kansas City and 3-2 at Houston Dynamo - put Adrian Heath’s side in the quarter-finals. There, they took on New Mexico United on Wednesday night, and thrashed them 6-1 - having trailed in the seventh minute.
Minnesota had followed up the first two cup games - which came back to back - with a resounding 7-1 win against FC Cincinnati, a 3-1 at home to San Jose Earthquakes and a 3-2 win away at Montreal Impact. That saw Mannone’s side shoot up into fourth place in the Western Conference of the MLS, just four points behind LA Galaxy in second. The Italian ‘keeper played in all of these games and proved to be a crucial part of this run of form.
In quite the contrast, the second half of June has been disastrous for Sone Aluko and Beijing Renhe. S. Since our last loan report, the Chinese side have lost four games out of four, totalling six losses in their last six.
With all of the last four matches coming in the Chinese Super League, the first defeat was a heavy one as Beijing were beaten 4-1 away at Jiangsu Suning. The game after saw no change in fortune for the team from the capital as they were defeated 3-0 away at Shanghai SIPG, with former Chelsea man Oscar on the score sheet for the home side.
It was not to be third time lucky or a win at home as Beijing were beaten 3-1 at home by Dalian Yifang - as it was a team that consisted of Yannick Carrasco and Marek Hamsik, it’s not hard to see why. Last Sunday was Beijing’s most recent defeat at home to Shandong Luneng as the hosts were beaten 2-0, despite the away side being reduced to ten men.
These results have left Beijing Renhe in the relegation zone, but just one point adrift of safety. Sone Aluko played ninety minutes in all four of these games and I’m sure he will be desperate for his side to put a stop to this run of form as soon as possible.