Preview: Two consecutive victories have Minnesota (2-1) on sure footing so far this spring season. But defeating defending North American Soccer League champion New York will require another level of play.
United FC at a glance: Don’t waste Minnesota coach Carl Craig’s time by reminding him the Loons are 0-4-4 against New York. “You guys talk about that, we don’t,” Craig said. “Yes, this club hasn’t beaten that club but it’s always new teams playing.” Standout midfielder Ibson likely will come off the bench again this week. “He hasn’t got 90 minutes in him yet,” Craig said. Central defender Tiago Calvano didn’t train until Wednesday this week, meaning the duo of Brent Kallman and Damion Lowe likely will anchor the back line. Lowe, who scored a goal and contributed to the Loons’ shutout of Fort Lauderdale, made the NASL Team of the Week.
New York at a glance: Cosmos captain Carlos Mendes, fellow center back Jimmy Ockford and defensive midfielder Michael Lahoud have started three consecutive matches together. That continuity in the heart of the defense held two of three opponents scoreless. Longtime Venezuelan national team captain Juan Arango pulls the strings as a playmaking midfielder. Slotted in behind the lone striker this season, Arango is tied for the team lead in goals (two) and assists (one). “It’s always fun to play against a high-level team,” Kallman said. “You’ve got to step up your game or else you might get run off the field.”
David La Vaque