Aston Villa become the first Premier League to visit Minnesota United’s Allianz Field stadium, as they kick-off their pre-season against the MLS team who have won seven games on the bounce.
Minnesota will no doubt rest players with their focus very much on continuing their rise up the MLS’s Western Conference and cementing a MLS Play-off spot. They currently sit fourth behind the two LA teams and the Seattle Sounders.
The Loons are managed by former Everton hero Adrian Heath, or ‘Inchy’ as he was known back in the day, when he memorably won a couple of top-tier league titles and an FA Cup with the Toffees. After a season in Spain, Heath then spent a season at Villa Park, where he never really got going, before his former Everton boss Howard Kendall, enlisted his services at Manchester City.
Beyond the cliche of pre-season games being about building up fitness, the real focus for Villa Head Coach Dean Smith will be tuning his players – especially his new recruits – into the way he wants Villa to play in the Premier League.
Villa will start with four new faces in the team – Jota, Wesley, Matt Targett and Ezri Konsa
In Smith’s first selection, expect Villa to see a lot of the ball with a starting midfield of Jota, Grealish, O’Hare, Horihane and El Ghazi.
Also, it’ll be interesting to see if both Bree and Targett in the full-back positions will have more of a licence to bomb on and create overloads.
Smith’s opening line-up is:
Steer, Bree, Hause, Konsa, Targett, Hourihane, Grealish (C), O’Hare, Jota, El Ghazi, Wesley.
Widespread changes are expected in the second half.
Viewers in the States and the UK can watch the game live on a stream provided by Minnesota United on the below link.
The 2019/20 season is now underway folks!