Andy Greder / St. Paul Pioneer Press
ST. PAUL — Minnesota United and Mortenson Construction will ramp up work on the Major League Soccer club's new Allianz Field this fall, while business leases on the site's northern side remain in place in St. Paul's Midway neighborhood.
MINNEAPOLIS — Gophers football coach P.J. Fleck and his staff have sprinted out of the starting gate to net an abundance of oral commitments for the 2018 recruiting class. With four additions last weekend, Minnesota's 29th-ranked class now totals 23 pledges, which is third behind Navy's 30 and South Florida's 26, according to 247sports.com. Only 10 Football Bowl Subdivision programs have 20 or more players on board, including Big Ten brethren Penn State (20) and Purdue (21).
BLAINE, Minn. — Minnesota United defender Joe Greenspan had no problem shedding his sleeveless shirt to provide better views of the detail on the family-focused tattoo on his left shoulder. Loons vet Sam Cronin — who is tat-less — scoffed as he walked by Greenspan posing in a photo shoot Thursday, Aug. 3 at the club's training grounds in Blaine. "Give me a break," he said. Greenspan didn't mind the ribbing. He's among the 40 percent of Loons players with ink covering their fit frames.
MINNEAPOLIS — No self-respecting baseball player wants to be caught with a batting average below the Mendoza Line's mythical figure of .200. And no Minnesota expansion franchise wants to have a winning percentage below the Minn-doza Line's .364. While the Mendoza Line is based on the last name of a light-hitting Mariners shortstop in the 1970s and '80s, the Minn-doza Line is the average from the state's established five pro sports teams during their inaugural seasons.
MINNEAPOLIS — When the Gophers football team begins training camp Tuesday, Aug. 1, the sexual misconduct scandal that embroiled the program last season will be one more day into the past. While they've turned the page from a saga that included suspensions, restraining orders, no criminal charges, a boycott, a coaching change, expulsions for four players and eventual reinstatements for five others, the program has been attacking the societal factors that overarch and contributed to the ordeal.
CHICAGO — Gophers coach P.J. Fleck and defensive coordinator Robb Smith have plans to incorporate sophomore safety Antoine Winfield Jr. in an outside linebacker-type position during passing downs. "I'm not saying he's a true Sam (strong-side linebacker), but he's going to be playing that type of position in those types of schemes because he's the best athlete on the defensive side of the ball," Fleck told the Pioneer Press last month.
MINNEAPOLIS — John Kundla, the hall of fame former basketball coach of the Minneapolis Lakers and the University of Minnesota, died Sunday afternoon at age 101, his family confirmed. He passed away from what are believed to be natural causes at a Minneapolis nursing home.
MINNEAPOLIS — Brent Kallman sprang into action minutes after Minnesota United made an emergency defensive sub in the first half of Wednesday's scoreless tie with Houston at TCF Bank Stadium. Ish Jome had entered to replace injured starter Joe Greenspan, and Kallman corralled Jome on the field to tell him discipline and communication with teammates were necessary to shore up the Loons' ever-shifting back line.
MINNEAPOLIS — On an upcoming episode of his new miniseries TV show, P.J. Fleck will treat fatherhood much like how he tackles his day job as the Gophers' head football coach. During a family fishing outing from a boat in Kalamazoo, Mich., last week, Fleck's 4-year-old daughter, Paisley, drops her princess-themed rod in the lake, and her dad dives in to find it. "It's an analogy of what he does with everything; he just jumps in," the show's co-executive producer Bo Mattingly told the Pioneer Press in a phone interview Thursday, July 20.
MINNEAPOLIS — Minnesota United has ramped up efforts to remove the biggest bust from its first MLS roster. The expansion franchise and Norwegian defender Vadim Demidov are exploring transfer options, Loons coach Adrian Heath confirmed Tuesday. In the meantime, Demidov has not trained with the Loons this week ahead of their game against the Houston Dynamo at 7 p.m. Wednesday at TCF Bank Stadium.