Andy Greder / St. Paul Pioneer Press
MINNEAPOLIS — Minnesota United had two puzzling free kicks in the first half their 1-0 victory over Columbus at Allianz Field last Saturday. Both times Jan Gregus and Darwin Quintero stood behind the ball. While it’s not atypical to have two players pose threats, it was unclear which Loon was supposed to take it. On the first one, Gregus, the club’s primary free-kick taker, said he let Quintero have it. Quintero’s attempt sailed over the crossbar.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota United coach Adrian Heath sought a quality performance, a result and no injuries from Wednesday’s friendly match against Hertha Berlin at Allianz Field. The Loons appeared to mostly produce two of three, leaving the result off the mark in a 1-0 loss in front of an announced crowd of 18,703 in the first international match at the St. Paul stadium. Minnesota started seven lesser-used players, and a pair of rookies -- defender Hassani Dotson and goalkeeper Dayne St. Clair -- appeared to leave a positive impression with Heath.
ST. PAUL — Minnesota United has loaned attacker Romario Ibarra to Pachuca of Mexico’s Liga MX, a source confirmed to the St. Paul Pioneer Press on Tuesday, May 21. The terms of the loan is for 13 months, with an option for Pachuca to buy Ibarra’s contract in 2020. United was looking to add additional finances for acquisitions in this summer’s transfer window, which runs July 7-Aug. 7, the source said. This transaction is on top of the $400,000 in MLS allocation money the Loons received in the Francisco Calvo-to-Chicago trade in early May.
ST. PAUL — Kevin Molino was one of the last Minnesota United players to leave the training field in Blaine on Monday, May 20. The Loons midfielder did an extra two-touch juggling drill with goalkeeper Vito Mannone before calling it a day. “This is my happy place,” Molino said. Molino has been savoring his spot more lately because he knows how quickly it can be taken away and for how long. In May 2015, playing for Orlando City, the Trinidad native tore his anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee. Nine months later, he was back on the field for the 2016 opener.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota United’s defense held the Columbus Crew to zero shots on goal in a 1-0 win Saturday at Allianz Field. It’s the first time the Loons haven’t conceded an attempt on net across the club’s 80-game tenure in MLS. The Loons achieved it without starting center back Ike Opara, who was out with a knee injury, and with Miguel Ibarra, regularly a winger, making his first start at left fullback.
ST. PAUL — There’s a viable case to be made for Minnesota United right back Romain Metanire’s selection in the MLS All-Star Game in Orlando, Fla., on July 31. In 11 games this season, the Frenchman leads Minnesota with four assists and has played all 990 minutes. Throughout MLS, 10 other players have more assists, but none are defenders. Loons coach Adrian Heath has been high on Metanire since he was acquired with Targeted Allocation Money in January.
ST. PAUL -- Don’t be surprised if Ochocinco is spotted at a Minnesota United game at Allianz Field this summer. Chad Johnson, the former Pro Bowl receiver nicknamed “Ochocinco,” became friends with Loons midfielder Miguel Ibarra in 2015, and they’ve stayed in touch. The two met on an airline flight to Miami when Ibarra played for the U.S. men’s national team.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota United coach Adrian Heath felt his team lacked “conviction” in a 2-0 loss to Chicago on Saturday, May 11, but isn’t ready to measure the Loons’ mettle just yet. Heath has said from the season’s onset he won’t get a full read on his team until the Loons have played as many games in Allianz Field as they have on the road, and he reiterated that on Tuesday.
BLAINE, Minn. -- Minnesota United fans haven’t seen enough of Abu Danladi. Again. Since scoring eight goals in 27 games and finishing runner-up for MLS rookie of the year in 2017, the Loons' first draft pick , No. 1 overall, has been held back by injuries. After scoring one goal per 174 minutes as a rookie, he scored one per 483 minutes a year ago. Now he's at one goal in 277 so far this season.
ST. PAUL -- Darwin Quintero’s frustrations poured out last Saturday. Minnesota United’s most-expensive player had entered the game as a rare second-half substitute and was pushing for the game-winning goal against Seattle at Allianz Field on May 4. The tiny Colombian playmaker cut a few times inside the 18-yard box and tried a chip shot, a move that awed Loons fans in his debut season a year ago. But it sailed over the crossbar. Quintero slipped to the grass and pounded his right fist into the turf three times as United settled for a 1-1 draw.