Minnesota United trained inside the National Sports Center on Saturday to escape the rain as they prepared for the 7:30 p.m. Monday matchup in the U.S. Open Cup against the Houston Dynamo.
Got a few notes from practice, so I thought I'd just throw up a quick blog for y'all that you can read in between World Cup matches. First of all, the players all looked fairly refreshed after a nice break. A lot of them took the time to go on vacation. Like Michael Boxall went to New York. Brent Kallman went to Nebraska and Vegas. Christian Ramirez went home to California. Maximiano went to Disney. And it looked like Miguel Ibarra and Alexi Gomez went on a bro trip to Florida. You're welcome for Instagram-stalking so you don't have to.
Anyhow, the only players missing from training Saturday, minus the World Cup guys and long-term injured, were goalkeeper Matt Lampson, forward Abu Danladi and outside back Eric Miller. Miller injured his hamstring in the Open Cup match at FC Cincinnati ahead of the break. Lampson had a setback with his knee injury after returning to the bench the past two games. Danladi endured a "knock" in practice, according to coach Adrian Heath.
The good news on the injury front is that outside back Jerome Thiesson was back training with the group after his groin injury that has caused him to miss the past two games. Heath called Thiesson "virtually 100 percent" but said the Loons "probably won't risk him" at Houston. But the coach does fully expect Thiesson to be ready for the next league match this upcoming Saturday at the Colorado.Rapids
Heath said the injuries at fullback this year have been "a nightmare," with Marc Burch out long term with a knee injury and Thiesson, Miller and right back Tyrone Mears all missing time with injuries so far. The only one who hasn't been injured is rookie Carter Manley, and he's seen significant playing time as a fill-in.
Heath also commented on his former club Orlando City SC firing coach Jason Kreis on Friday. Kreis took over for Heath when the now United manager lost his job also about halfway through his second year coaching at the MLS level. Heath's Orlando team was a spot out of playoff contention at 4-4-8 at the time of his firing, while Kreis' is 6-8-1 and in the last spot for playoff contention.
Orlando is on a six-gam losing streak, though, and Heath said Orlando might not have sacked Kreis if those wins and losses didn't come in such runs.
"They've had a complete roster overhaul, a third of the season in, they're above the playoff line. I think it's a little bit of a knee-jerk reaction," Heath said. "When you're on that six-game losing streak, it's not nice for everybody, and I get that. Ownership groups not just in Orlando but all over the U.S., it's not a nice feeling, and with social media now, the pressure mounts up on the coach because everybody's an expert. People who've never been involved in football have their little five minutes of fame because they've got a blog ... and unfortunately, people listen."