Andy Greder / St. Paul Pioneer Press
ST. PAUL — Costa Rican defender and Minnesota United captain Francisco Calvo's participation in the World Cup is a dream come true. For Loons teammates Michael Boxall and Rasmus Schuller, the sport's biggest showcase, which begins Thursday in Russia, will conjure feelings of what might have been. Boxall, a defender on the New Zealand national team, and Schuller, a midfielder for Finland, each fell short of the World Cup during the qualifying rounds and will watch it on TV. "We blew our shot of being there," Schuller said.
BLAINE, MInn. — A makeshift black plastic canopy shrouded Hodong Cho's laptop as drizzle fell during Minnesota United's outdoor training session Wednesday, May 30, in Blaine. The Loons staffer was protecting proprietary data streaming instantaneously from GPS devices the players wore 20 yards away, running up and down the practice field. That information is sorted into a variety of charts to measure players' work rate across the week's practices and through Sunday night's game against Sporting Kansas City at Children's Mercy Park.
MINNEAPOLIS — Minnesota United coach Adrian Heath plans to remind players this week of what he considers one of their worst performances in Major League Soccer: the 3-0 thumping they received from Sporting Kansas City last June. "Maybe that's the most disappointing outcome since I've been manager here," Heath said Wednesday, May 30. "... I thought we were dreadful from the very first minute. I don't think we competed on any front."
BLAINE, Minn. — When Rasmus Schuller lay on the midfield turf with his head in his hands on May 20, the hearts of the Minnesota United faithful skipped a beat. While going for an aerial ball, Schuller's head collided with that of Sporting Kansas City's Yohan Croizet in the 84th minute of the 1-1 draw at TCF Bank Stadium. "It looked nasty," Callum Williams, Loons' play-by-play broadcaster, said on the telecast.
ST. PAUL — St. Paul goalkeeper Fred Emmings is being touted as an early success story from Minnesota United's youth development academy. Emmings, a member of the Loons' under-14 team, was called up to the U.S. U-15 boys national team camp in January, serving as a confirmation that Minnesota academy director Tim Carter and his staff have some promising young players in the club's growing system.
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.