Andy Greder / St. Paul Pioneer Press
MINNEAPOLIS — Brent Kallman's debut season in Major League Soccer was trending upward. After playing in Minnesota United's third-ever match — when the Loons earned the club's first MLS point as an expansion franchise at Colorado on March 18 — Kallman went on to make 15 consecutive starts. The Woodbury, Minnesota, center back, who was promoted from the club's era in the second division of U.S. soccer, was establishing himself as a key defensive player.
MINNEAPOLIS — Gophers coaches are calling for more consistency from Rashad Still, whose 38 career receptions are most among Minnesota's wide receivers. With quarterbacks Demry Croft and Conor Rhoda both expected to play in the season opener against Buffalo next Thursday, Aug. 31, the duo will be throwing to an inexperienced group of receivers. After Minnesota's spring game in April, coach P.J. Fleck addressed the lack of depth, saying Still needed to be the "bell cow" for the passing game. "We are going to throw that guy the ball," Fleck said.
MINNEAPOLIS — After Tuesday's practice, Gophers football coach P.J. Fleck pivoted on the quarterback competition between Demry Croft and Conor Rhoda as the time to name a starter dwindles. "If we think we are going to have one quarterback or need one quarterback through this entire season, I would be crazy to think that," Fleck said. "As we go forward, I have to start looking at some options." During Big Ten media day on July 25, Fleck's stated his preference is to "home in on one" quarterback, and the Tuesday, Aug. 15, comment appears to shift that stance.
MINNEAPOLIS — Sports Minneapolis will respond on behalf of the city and U.S. Bank Stadium to a request for information to be a potential host for 2026 World Cup games. U.S. Bank Stadium, the Vikings' home field, was named Tuesday as one of 49 stadiums in 44 cities to be considered as locations for the pinnacle international men's soccer competition, which is expected to be hosted across the U.S., Canada and Mexico in nine years.
MINNEAPOLIS — Adrian Heath had an eye on midfielder Ethan Finlay during the 2014 Disney Pro Soccer Classic preseason tournament in Orlando, Fla. Heath was coaching Orlando City in the United Soccer League and wanted to acquire Finlay, who was playing for the Columbus Crew in Major League Soccer. But Heath said the talks were scuttled when Finlay, who played sparingly in his first two seasons in Columbus, had a strong tournament and used it as a springboard to 23 goals and 20 assists combined over the 2014-15 seasons with the Crew.
MINNEAPOLIS — Gophers strength and conditioning coach Dan Nichol scowls often as he stalks the sideline during a preseason football practice. When two players were kicked out of a practice last weekend, the authoritative assistant was called on to escort them to the locker room.
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.