A modest gathering at Nomad World Pub in Minneapolis was getting prepared for Wednesday’s World Cup semifinal between the Netherlands and Argentina.
Soccer fans lazily sipped beers in the afternoon sun, chatting about Tuesday’s 7-1 Germany stunner over Brazil, when a large black SUV pulled up and two icons of the sport emerged to bring them to full attention: former U.S. men’s national team star Claudio Reyna and the English Premier League trophy won this year by his former professional team, Manchester City.
Reyna was in the Twin Cities to promote an Aug. 2 match at TCF Bank Stadium between Manchester City and Olympiakos — and in the process, Reyna, recently named the sporting director for the expansion New York City FC in Major League Soccer, ended up fielding questions about the potential for an MLS franchise in Minneapolis.
Reyna signed autographs and chatted with fans at the pub — many of whom posed for pictures with the trophy — but he also addressed a few pressing soccer subjects:
• On the MLS in this market: “I think it would be great. I think when you see the potential of soccer in this country, this is certainly a market that’s an interesting one for MLS. As much as I know, they’re seriously considering it. I know there are potentially two [ownership groups], and that’s all I know. I think the league needs another team in the Midwest. There’s been a big growth in the Southeast. I’ve been here a couple of times. It’s a soccer market and it’s a sports city. Hopefully, they can land this franchise because it would be great.”
• On the U.S. showing in the World Cup: “The U.S. did great in terms of getting out of the group. Everyone I think going into it thought it would be a really difficult task, but they did a great job. I think the team was really set up well to get results. … It was a tough one against Belgium, but we always knew it would be tough. How the nation rallied around the team was great to see. As the dust settles, we still need to improve and get better. There’s a lot of hard work, and that’s a collaboration between U.S. Soccer, MLS and youth clubs around the country.”
• On the aftershock of Germany’s rout of Brazil: “It’s still a shock. I can’t believe it. That it happened to Brazil, the host nation, with so much expectation, just unimaginable that they would have lost 7-1. … It’s going to take a long time for the country to recover from this, that’s for sure.”