Defender Jerome Thiesson sported a blue T-shirt with an American flag logo as well as a denim jacket with the same design emblazoned on the back in the locker room after Minnesota United’s match Tuesday.
And the Switzerland native, living in the U.S. for the first time, channeled the true spirit of July 4th by naming off some of the features of the American dream United can take in, after its home loss.
“We can start with a lot of optimism and will and energy the second half of the season,” Thiesson said.
United fell 1-0 to the Columbus Crew SC on Tuesday at TCF Bank Stadium in front of an announced crowd of 18,564. Columbus midfielder Kekuta Manneh took advantage of some time and space United’s defense granted him to drive home a low, long-range shot in the 58th minute.
Major League Soccer now breaks for part of the CONCACAF Gold Cup, for which three of United’s players are currently on national team duty. The Loons (5-11-3) will play a friendly July 15 against Mexican team Atlas FC before returning to MLS play July 19.
“The little break now, I think, has come at a really good time for us because we’re sort of running on fumes a little bit,” coach Adrian Heath said. “It’ll give one or two players an opportunity to get themselves fully fit again, and one or two to recharge the batteries a little bit. Because the one thing it showed tonight, that our strength in depth has been certainly tested to the maximum with the players out and the injuries that we’ve got.”
The Loons were one man short of a full 18-man squad with the three players gone on national team duty and six more injured. The depleted squad, including another apparent injury to starter Abu Danladi late in the first half, forced Heath to employ three different formations throughout the match against Columbus (9-10-1) and required several players to play out of position.
Thiesson, a right-side back, played most of the match as a right-side center back paired with Joe Greenspan, who had missed the past three weeks because of a concussion. Midfielder Sam Cronin, who wore the captain’s armband with Francisco Calvo away with Costa Rica and Brent Kallman injured, said Thiesson could have been United’s “best player” Tuesday, and the whole team did the best it could under its limitations.
“We’ve had a busy stretch, and losing, it just messes with you,” Cronin said. “So I think it’ll be best for us all to step away, get away from each other a little bit and just kind of regroup and re-energize.
“There’s still a lot of reason to be optimistic, even though it maybe doesn’t feel like it now.”