The coldest condition Costa Rican Francisco Calvo had ever trained in was minus-11 degrees. Vadim Demidov, who grew up in Norway, once played in minus-18 degrees.
Oh, Celsius, though. By Fahrenheit standards, Calvo experienced about 12 degrees and Demidov was closer to 0 degrees. The Minnesota United FC center-backs aren’t quite that hard-core. Yet, at least.
When United took to TCF Bank Stadium for the first time Friday, training ahead of the home opener Sunday, it was a brisk 7 degrees Fahrenheit. Goalkeeper John Alvbage actually showed off after practice how one of the team’s practice vests had frozen and become crunchy.
That’s pretty cold. When fellow expansion side Atlanta United FC visits at 4 p.m. Sunday, the projected forecast has the high temperature at a balmy 28 degrees, or 18 in feels-like terms, with winds at about 10 miles per hour and an 80 percent chance of snow.
Major League Soccer reported earlier this week this match could be one of the coldest in league history, with three previous matches played at below 30 degrees. It could also be the ninth match in league history with snow.
The New England Revolution rescheduled its home opener Saturday against Orlando City SC to September because of “extreme cold, with wind chills expected to take temperatures below 10 degrees,” according to a club news release.
United coach Adrian Heath said he hadn’t heard of any discussion to do the same for the Loons’ first home match.
Heath isn’t allowing any negativity or excuses about the weather from his players, adding that high winds would be the only factor that could really affect his strategy.
“I’ve played in snow lots of times,” Heath said. “But maybe not quite as cold as this, I’ve got to be honest.”
Left-back Justin Davis, who has been with United since 2011 when it played in Blaine, said he’ll share a few tips and tricks about enduring the chill in with his new teammates.
“I’ve got to teach them the hand warmers in the bathroom. Use those at halftime and before the game to makes sure you can feel your hands,” Davis said. “A lot of the guys are Scandinavian, so they should know how to deal with it.”
Defender Jerome Thiesson practiced with the team for the first time since arriving from Switzerland. Demidov said the right-back adapted quickly. But it’s unclear if Thiesson will start Sunday.
“I kept in shape,” Thiesson said, adding he would really love to play Sunday, especially after missing the opener. “Of course, I’m still a little bit tired, a little bit jet-lagged. So all factors I have to consider, the coach has to consider, and I’m sure he will decide what is best for the team.”
Heath said Thiesson was “excellent” in his first training session with the Loons.
“He looked very sharp out there,” Heath said. “He feels good. So that gives me some thought for the selection for the team on Sunday.”