Christian Ramirez scored in his MLS debut with Minnesota United in 2017, in the very first game of the season when he came on as a second-half substitute.
There might be something to that sophomore slump cliche, though, as it took Ramirez until seven games in to 2018 to score his first this season, United's only goal in a 3-1 loss to Seattle this past Sunday. Before that, his most recent goal was in early October of 2017, a stretch of nine games. And prior to his score at Seattle, he had netted just three goals in 18 games.
So maybe that's why the striker celebrated his goal by making the "shh" gesture with a finger in front of his mouth.
"Uh, it's for everybody else to figure out," Ramirez said of his display.
While he was a little obscure about that, Ramirez did say scoring for the first time in a while felt good, and he's starting to feel like himself on the field now with sharper movements. While he's not quite 100 percent after an ankle injury in the first game of the season, he's still working to regain full fitness and hoping that training on grass soon, now that the weather is nicer, will help that endeavor.
As far as the scoring drought, Ramirez said he didn't even realize it was happening. But he's not unfamiliar with it, as he remembered a stretch of eight or nine games in his second season in the North American Soccer League when he was only playing about five minutes per game and didn't score.
"It seems to happen to me when I go my first year in the league, and then the second year sort of defenses zone in on me and takes me a little bit to get acclimated to it," Ramirez said. "This year, I don't think it was anything in particular that defenses are doing. It was more of a health issue."
Coach Adrian Heath was pleased with Ramirez's performance on Sunday when he came on in the second half for the injured Abu Danladi. Heath said the reason he started Danladi over Ramirez was because Seattle's center backs are usually better against big, physical players like Ramirez than they are against fast, pacey players like Danladi.
"I thought Christian was very good when he came on. I think he certainly gave us a lift," Heath said. "I would think that Christian's done enough to maybe get himself played at the weekend."
Otherwise from practice Wednesday at the National Sports Center, just Danladi was missing with his injury he picked up in the game this past weekend.