Andy Greder / St. Paul Pioneer Press
BLAINE, MInn. — Minnesota United striker Abu Danladi's 16 minutes in a 1-1 draw with Kansas City on Sunday, May 20, pale in importance to the training he's been a part of leading up to Saturday's game against Montreal at TCF Bank Stadium. During Danladi's four-game, three-week absence with a high sprain to his right ankle, United coach Adrian Heath expressed frustration over not being able to continue developing the second-year forward Minnesota selected with the first pick in the 2017 MLS SuperDraft. Danladi echoed that opinion Tuesday.
MINNEAPOLIS — Early assessments of the Gophers football 2019 recruiting class have been positive, despite the U's primary target and the top in-state recruit picking Notre Dame live on television last month. Eight days after Edina offensive tackle Quinn Carroll announced he was giving an oral commitment to the Fighting Irish, Gophers head coach P.J. Fleck received a pivotal pledge from a top-rated player in his home state of Illinois, defensive end Jason Bargy.
MINNEAPOLIS — Byron Buxton's answer was as fast as his first few steps out of the batter's box when he hit a ground ball past Tigers shortstop Jose Inglesias in the fifth inning of the Twins' 4-1 loss Wednesday, May 23, at Target Field. When did the blazing-fast baserunner decide he was going to try to stretch the hit into a double? "Out of the box," he quickly responded. "Once you see somebody (Detroit centerfielder Leonys Martin) jogging towards the ball, immediately my mindset is, 'You think I'm not running. So, why not rush you?'"
The Twins couldn’t complete their first three-game series sweep of the season on Wednesday, and while their play has improved overall, Minnesota has yet to fully emerge from the hole they dug during a dismal 12-game stretch last month. Niko Goodrum hit a two-run home run against his former team, and Michael Fulmer gave up one run in 5 2/3 innings as the Tigers beat the Twins 4-1 before an announced crowd of 23,891 at Target Field.
BLAINE, Minn. — Minnesota United must beat the low-rung Montreal Impact on Saturday night, May 26, at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis in order to stay a hair ahead of the modest pace they set as a Major League Soccer expansion franchise last year. The Loons rebounded from an abysmal start in their debut season a year ago to post a 4-7-2 record through 13 games. So far in 2018, they are 4-7-1 with the 13th match coming against a struggling Montreal side that seems ripe to be devoured.
MINNEAPOLIS—Minnesota United captain Francisco Calvo has been a lightning rod for criticism after having been deemed a primary culprit for goals allowed in recent games. Again on Sunday, May 20, the Loons center back was in the middle of Sporting Kansas City's only goal in a 1-1 draw with Minnesota at TCF Bank Stadium on Sunday. But United coach Adrian Heath gave credit to Kansas City's quality on a Johnny Russell in-swinging corner kick that went to the head of KC's 6-foot-3 forward Khiry Shelton. Shelton just edged 5-foot-11 Calvo to put KC ahead 1-0 in the eight minute.
MINNEAPOLIS—Minnesota United's first tie of 2018 arrived Sunday, May 20, and with it in comeback fashion against Western Conference-leading Kansas City, the result can be considered among the Loons' best this year. United conceded yet another early goal, but Darwin Quintero equalized 12 minutes later and Minnesota's defense staved off an increasingly persistent Sporting KC attack in the second half to earn a 1-1 draw in front of an announced sellout crowd of 23,117 at TCF Bank Stadium.
WOODBURY, Minn. — Eric Miller grew up a wide-eyed, soccer-loving kid in Woodbury, but as an MLS pro, he sometimes felt more like a mercenary. After a collegiate career at Creighton, he was a high draft pick for the Montreal Impact in 2014 and found out the nature of the business when he was traded to the Colorado Rapids two years later. When he was shipped off again May 1 in a deadline-day trade to Minnesota United, the homecoming had him nostalgic for his idealistic days as a first-hand witness to some of the biggest flash points in Minnesota's recent soccer history.
ST. PAUL — Before the field is covered in a luscious bed of Kentucky bluegrass next spring, Taylor Twellman stood on a stage above the gravel base of Allianz Field on Tuesday, May 15. While ESPN's top soccer commentator was in St. Paul to announce the under-construction venue would host CONCACAF Gold Cup matches in June 2019, he dovetailed his opening comments to include his view on Minnesota United a year-plus into their MLS existence.
BLAINE, Minn. — Minnesota United's Abu Danladi participated in Tuesday's training session in Blaine, but the second-year striker's right-ankle injury continues to hinder him. If he misses the Loons' game against first-place Sporting Kansas City at TCF Bank Stadium on Sunday, May 20, it will be five straight games missed for Minnesota's season-opening starter.