Minnesota United backup goalkeeper Patrick McLain played for the Loons' upcoming opponent, the Chicago Fire, last season.
McLain was the third-choice keeper and played one match for Chicago, starting the last match of the season, a 3-2 loss at Toronto FC. United travels to Chicago at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.
"It was good. I'd been kind of waiting to play all season at that point," McLain said. "I think for the most part, the team played pretty well. I thought I did all right. ... It was in Toronto, so a really good team. Obviously went to the final that year. So they were pretty loaded. It was a good experience to play against some of those guys."
While he was only there a season, and Chicago has added several new faces since then, McLain said he's still pretty close to a lot of the players carried over from Chicago's 2016 roster, and he's looking forward to catching up this weekend.
As for Minnesota, while McLain has yet to play in MLS, he made his Loons' debut in the June 14 U.S. Open Cup match at Sporting Kansas City, a 4-0 loss. While playing time has been scarce behind starter Bobby Shuttleworth, McLain said he's enjoyed being part of the "goalkeeper union" at United with Shuttleworth, new addition Alex Kapp and coach Marius Rovde. He called Rovde "goofy sometimes" but said the coach worked the trio hard.
"It's tough when you don't have as much to show on the field every week," McLain said of his time with United so far. "But what I've been putting together on the practice field has been good."
Other notes: Forward Christian Ramirez was again absent from practice on Friday at the National Sports Center dealing with his hamstring injury. ... Center-back Brent Kallman should be "OK" to play this weekend after a minor injury flare-up midweek, according to coach Adrian Heath. ... Left-back Marc Burch will likely be fully integrated into the team and available for selection by the team's next match Sept. 9, Heath said. ... Winger Bashkim Kadrii has still not returned to the team while dealing with "personal issues" and will not be a part of the squad for the trip to Chicago. ... New addition winger Jose Leiton is expected to join the team next week when training resumes on Wednesday. The Costa Rican has been sorting out his visa paperwork since joining United on loan for a year back on Aug. 10.
(Also, in a week, come see me, sporting director Manny Lagos and sideline reporter Jamie Watson at the Star Tribune Stage at the Minnesota State Fair! It's 1 p.m. Friday, Sept. 1, bring your questions!)