Fresh off his 250th match in Major League Soccer, Minnesota United midfielder Sam Cronin reflected a bit on the volatility in the Loons' lineups this season.
The squad has enjoyed nearly full practices this past week with the return of several injured players and national team call-ups. That has improved the quality of the training sessions as well as upped the competition for jobs.
But Cronin said the team is just now, heading into its 23rd of 34 matches this season at 7 p.m. Saturday against the Seattle Sounders FC at TCF Bank Stadium, hoping to find some consistency
"I think it's been OK. It's good to have a consistent partner in there," Cronin said of Ibson, his other half in the midfield. "It's best if you have those all over the field. Unfortunately, we've had a lot of turnover throughout the team. But I think we know how each other plays pretty well, and we're getting a better feel with each game. So, hopefully, we can just get healthier and have consistent performances from a lot of guys to have more consistent lineups throughout the season."
Cronin, who has started and played 15 matches with United since a March 31 transaction sent him to the Loons from the Colorado Rapids, said in particular, the changes along the back-line have been tough. There's been multiple different center-back combinations, with new addition Michael Boxall and captain Francisco Calvo being the most recent pairing.
"That affects the team for sure, especially just that being the spine of the team. You want it to almost be unspoken communication," the holding midfielder said. "And the fact that we've had so much turnover week after week, it's been difficult to kind of develop the relationship you need to have to play at this level. So hopefully we can solidify our team, stay healthy and get wins and performances together to make the coaches' decision easy. Because that's a really important relationship, center-back to the center midfield."