United FC soccer: Talented newcomers fill an early need

  • Article by: DAVID LA VAQUE , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 20, 2013 - 1:14 AM

Former San Antonio stars seize roles without fanfare.

hide

Minnesota United midfielder Aaron Pitchkolan, right, leaped for a 50-50 ball with San Antonio’s Patrick Phelan in United’s NASL opener on April 6. Pitchkolan is a former San Antonio player.

Photo: Photos by JIM GEHRZ • jgehrz@startribune.com ,

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

 

Overshadowed by the offseason signings of two former league most valuable players, fellow Minnesota United FC newcomers Aaron Pitchkolan and Daryl Sattler are proving their considerable worth.

The former San Antonio Scorpions teammates-turned-Twin Cities roommates played well in United FC’s season-opening scoreless tie against the Scorpions on April 6.

Pitchkolan provided a steady presence at the center midfielder position and just missed scoring his team’s first goal. Sattler, the North American Soccer League’s Golden Gloves winner as top goalkeeper, shook off a collision that chipped one of his teeth and kept his former team off the scoreboard.

While awaiting the scoring punch of former NASL MVPs Pablo Campos (two-game suspension) and Etienne Barbara (zero goals), United FC will lean on Pitchkolan and Sattler when the team plays host to FC Edmonton on Saturday at the Metrodome.

“Scoring goals will come with time; I have no doubt about that,” Pitchkolan said. “But as long as we’re solid defensively, that will make us successful and we can build off of that.”

Sattler, 32, brought more than a 0.79 goals-against average and 13 shutouts with him to Minnesota. He still owns classic video game consoles such as Nintendo and Sega Genesis, which make him and Pitchkolan popular among teammates.

Taking an old-school approach on the field as well, Pitchkolan, 30, earns respect for a steady, professional approach. Sattler, meanwhile, continues to fight back from major knee surgery in 2011.

Together, they embody the approach that made the Minnesota Stars FC (United’s former name) league champion in 2011 and runner-up last year. As Pitchkolan said, he and Sattler are two of the many players “quietly going about their business and getting better.”

Drafted in 2005 by FC Dallas of Major League Soccer, Pitchkolan played four seasons before getting traded to San Jose. He went on to play with several NASL teams and helped San Antonio win the regular-season title last year.

“Pitch is probably one of the most underrated players in the league,” Sattler said. “Whether there is a lot of hype about him or not, he steps on the field on does his magic.”

Sattler said Pitchkolan arrived at San Antonio “after the second game but from Day 1 he took that starting position.”

United FC forward Travis Wall said Pitchkolan endeared himself to teammates during preseason training, becoming “the guy you pick right away in practice to make sure he’s on your team.”

Coming to Minnesota without MVP-type fanfare fit Pitchkolan’s maximum-effort, zero-ego personality.

“That’s just the way my career has gone,” said Pitchkolan, a defensive midfielder who has also played center back. “Not a lot of flash. Just go in there and get the job done.”

Sattler can relate. Last season ended with a great deal of individual acclaim, little of which could have been predicted at the start. Coming off knee surgery in 2011, Sattler entered last season as a backup. When starter Pat Hannigan went down with an injury, Sattler pounced.

“I was dying to get in and it felt so good to get back on the field and do my thing,” Sattler said. “From that point I just decided that since I got my opportunity I’m going to make it hard as hell for Coach not to play me.”

Sattler upped the ante in the offseason, coming to a Minnesota team with many of the core players from two finals appearances still on the roster, including Matt VanOekel, last season’s breakout performer in goal. Earning the start for the first game, Sattler said, is the first round of what he expects to be a continued fight for playing time.

  • related content

  • Preview: FC Edmonton at Minnesota United FC

    Saturday April 20, 2013

    Game previewWhat: Minnesota United FC (0-1-1) vs. FC Edmonton (0-1-1). 2:30 p.m. Saturday at the Metrodome.Preview: Both teams are searching...

  • Minnesota United goalkeeper Daryl Sattler made a sprawling save in the second half on the way to recording a shutout in a season-opening scoreless draw with San Antonio at the Metrodome.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Kansas City - J. Guthrie 7:07 PM
San Francisco - T. Hudson
San Diego 21 FINAL
Denver 35
Detroit 10/26/14 8:30 AM
Atlanta
Buffalo 10/26/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
St. Louis 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
Houston 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
Minnesota 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Seattle 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Baltimore 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
Miami 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Chicago 10/26/14 12:00 PM
New England
Philadelphia 10/26/14 3:05 PM
Arizona
Oakland 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Cleveland
Indianapolis 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Pittsburgh
Green Bay 10/26/14 7:30 PM
New Orleans
Washington 10/27/14 7:30 PM
Dallas
Dallas 6:00 PM
Orlando
New York 6:30 PM
Toronto
San Antonio 7:00 PM
Houston
Miami 7:00 PM
Memphis
Minnesota 7:00 PM
Chicago
Phoenix 8:00 PM
Utah
Sacramento 9:00 PM
LA Lakers
Denver 9:30 PM
Golden State
Portland 9:30 PM
LA Clippers
Dallas 6:00 PM
New Jersey
Tampa Bay 7:00 PM
Winnipeg
Vancouver 8:00 PM
Colorado
Carolina 8:30 PM
Edmonton
Columbus 9:00 PM
Anaheim
Connecticut 21 FINAL
(18) East Carolina 31
Miami-Florida 30 FINAL
Virginia Tech 6
So Florida 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Troy 6:30 PM
South Alabama
BYU 8:00 PM
Boise State
(6) Oregon 9:00 PM
California
North Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Rice
UAB 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Arkansas
Rutgers 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(16) Nebraska
Maryland 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Wisconsin
Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(11) Kansas State
Minnesota 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
Memphis 10/25/14 11:00 AM
SMU
North Carolina 10/25/14 11:30 AM
Virginia
San Jose St 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Navy
Northern Ill 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
(25) UCLA 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Colorado
Akron 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Ball State
Massachusetts 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Toledo
Ohio U 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Western Mich
Ga Southern 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Kent State 10/25/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Oregon State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Stanford
Fla Atlantic 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(23) Marshall
Louisiana Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(1) Miss State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Kentucky
Georgia Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Pittsburgh
(22) West Virginia 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Texas Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(10) TCU
Michigan 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Boston College 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Central Mich 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo
Vanderbilt 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Missouri
Old Dominion 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Western Ky
UNLV 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Utah State
Temple 10/25/14 4:00 PM
UCF
(15) Arizona 10/25/14 5:00 PM
Washington St
Texas-El Paso 10/25/14 6:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Wyoming 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Colorado State
Syracuse 10/25/14 6:00 PM
(21) Clemson
Texas State 10/25/14 6:00 PM
ULM
(3) Ole Miss 10/25/14 6:15 PM
(24) LSU
(4) Alabama 10/25/14 6:30 PM
Tennessee
So Carolina 10/25/14 6:30 PM
(5) Auburn
(13) Ohio State 10/25/14 7:00 PM
Penn State
(20) USC 10/25/14 9:00 PM
(19) Utah
(14) Arizona State 10/25/14 9:45 PM
Washington
Nevada 10/25/14 10:59 PM
Hawaii
(2) Florida State 10/30/14 6:30 PM
Louisville
Troy 10/30/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
Houston 7:00 PM
Chicago
Montreal 5:30 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 8:30 PM
Calgary
Hamilton 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Toronto
Brt Columbia 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Winnipeg
Hamilton 10/31/14 6:30 PM
Ottawa
Winnipeg 11/1/14 3:00 PM
Calgary
Brt Columbia 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Edmonton
Toronto 11/2/14 11:00 AM
Montreal

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Who wins and loses in football this weekend?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close