Andy Greder / St. Paul Pioneer Press
ST. PAUL — Friday, July 6, marked the two-year anniversary of Adrian Heath feeling as if the rug was pulled out from underneath him in his surprise firing as Orlando City's head coach. "That was a blow," Heath told the Pioneer Press during a half-hour interview in his office this week. "I think it makes you a little bit more cynical." Heath coached 50 MLS games at Orlando City, going 16-18-16 from the start of the franchise's 2015 expansion season to the halfway point of 2016.
MINNEAPOLIS — The Twins remain hopeful that they'll be able to sign three draft picks before the 4 p.m. Friday, July 6, deadline, the club's scouting director Sean Johnson said about 24 hours before the cutoff. The three top targets are fifth-round draft pick Cole Sands, a pitcher from Florida State, sixth-round selection Charlie Mack, a shortstop from a New York high school, and 11th-round pick Michael Helman, a second baseman from Texas A&M. Sands has a pick value of $330,000, while Mack's value is listed at $253,000. Helman doesn't have a slotted value on mlb.com.
MINNEAPOLIS — Sean Johnson and Mike Radcliff had a routine dinner on a scouting road trip at a Cheesecake Factory restaurant turn celebratory in Cary, N.C., on June 27. They were watching TV as the Twins' first-round draft pick, Trevor Larnach, stepped to the plate for Oregon State against Arkansas in Game 2 of the College World Series in Omaha, Neb.
ST. PAUL—Minnesota United's locker room was brimming with confidence after a thrilling 4-3 win Wednesday, July 4, over Toronto at TCF Bank Stadium. After his hat trick, Colombian playmaker Darwin Quintero had turned the Bluetooth speaker to Latino music. Loons teammates laughed and razzed Christian Ramirez for his fashion choice of denim overalls. Francisco Calvo and Miguel Ibarra refined their custom handshake. In Quintero's postgame media scrum, backup goalkeeper Matt Lampson acted like a reporter when he jumped and asked, "Do you want to apologize to Clint Irwin?"
MINNEAPOLIS—Darwin Quintero didn't just accomplish the first hat trick in Minnesota United's history within Major League Soccer. The Loons' playmaker created three jaw-dropping strikes to steal the show in a 4-3 win Wednesday over defending MLS Cup champions Toronto FC at TCF Bank Stadium.
ST. PAUL — Reigning MLS Cup champion Toronto FC has fewer wins than Minnesota United this season. But Loons coach Adrian Heath expects Toronto to turn it around soon. He just hopes it doesn't come at the expense of his club when Minnesota (5-10-1) faces Toronto (4-9-3) at 6 p.m. Wednesday, July 4, at TCF Bank Stadium. "Like most people, I've been surprised because like last year I thought they were head and shoulders above everybody in the league, and I still think — I said it last week — I think they will make the playoffs," Heath said.
MINNEAPOLIS — Minnesota United's 19 goals are tied for second-fewest in Major League Soccer this season, and the Loons' 1-0 loss to Dallas on Friday, June 29, was their second home shutout this year. That scoring dearth looks even worse when adding in no goals across two U.S. Open Cup games in June. But you won't find coach Adrian Heath pointing this out to his players.
ST. PAUL — Collin Martin told his parents, Gerard and Roberta, on Monday, June 25, that he was going to publicly announce himself as a gay man this week, and in effect, become the only men's professional athlete in the five major U.S. sports with that title. They went over the pros and cons of such a groundbreaking announcement and determined the positives far outweighed the negatives. On Friday, Collin, a 23-year-old midfielder for Minnesota United, made the announcement, hours before the Loons held Pride Night in support of the LGBTQ community at TCF Bank Stadium.
MINNEAPOLIS — Minnesota United's locker room inside Dick's Sporting Goods Park was dead silent after the team's stinging 3-2 road loss to then-last-place Colorado on Saturday, June 23. But when the Loons reconvened in Blaine this week, players called a rare team meeting during which veteran leaders spoke up to say enough is enough with their losing ways, especially on the road. Captain defender Michael Boxall, starting goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth and top playmaker Darwin Quintero delivered messages to the group.
MINNEAPOLIS—The popular Netflix show "Last Chance U" will have a Minnesota connection this summer. The Emmy-nominated football documentary series will feature Independence (Kan.) Community College, where former Gophers players Ray Buford, Dior Johnson and Tamarion Johnson have played.