Minnesota United FC struggling to play consistent soccer

  • Article by: DAVID LA VAQUE , Star Tribune
  • Updated: June 8, 2013 - 12:29 AM

Though injury-plagued, NASL team must elevate its intensity.

 

A concussion sidelined Minnesota United FC captain Kyle Altman for three weeks, during which time he slept up to 20 hours per day in a dark room.

He missed a 3-2 victory on May 25 at defending North American Soccer League champion Tampa Bay. He returned last Saturday at last-place San Antonio, where a 2-0 loss continued a dizzying stretch of inconsistent play.

Numerous injuries have forced coach Manny Lagos to revamp the lineup weekly and the constant shuffling, he said, makes it tough to sustain success. Parity in the NASL also has caused United to rise and fall. Just five standings points separate the league’s eight teams.

But Altman isn’t looking for excuses.

“To be a champion you have to be consistent,” Altman said. “You have to have that willpower to turn losses into draws and draws into wins.”

Minnesota, fourth in the standings, returns home to face Fort Lauderdale at 7 p.m. Saturday at the Metrodome. The Strikers are tied with San Antonio for last place, though both teams are just a lone three-point victory behind Minnesota.

Lagos said there are “a lot of layers” as to why his team is “not doing a good enough job on the field.” Injuries top the list.

“We have four to seven starters out each week so it’s been tough to get consistency and our record reflects that,” Lagos said.

Starting goalkeeper Matt VanOekel said, “I don’t think we’ve had the same back line or center midfielders play two games in a row.”

Personnel issues remain this week. Lagos said it is “unlikely” Etienne Barbara, Simone Bracalello, Aaron Pitchkolan or Lucas Rodriguez will see action against Fort Lauderdale. Bryan Arguez and Max Griffin are “possible” to play, he said.

Opportunity is the flip side of injury. Lagos said some younger players have yet to grasp theirs.

“We’ve got younger guys who are still getting their feet wet,” Lagos said. “We hope they get to the level where they are ready to contribute.”

Altman said preparation starts with good tempo and intensity in training.

“It has to replicate a game. Otherwise, you’ll get out there and you’ll be flat,” Altman said. “That’s been my focus and I’ve gotten on guys I’ve seen slacking.”

Sandwiching a strong effort against a good Tampa Bay team were losses to Des Moines, a lower-level amateur team, and last-place San Antonio. Lagos called the idea of his team playing to the level of its opponent an “honest assessment.”

United’s recent slump of one victory and four losses started with a 2-1 loss at Fort Lauderdale on May 11, the first blemish on previously undefeated United’s record.

“There are a lot of areas where we’ve complicated things,” Lagos said. “We’ve been knocked down but I fully expect us to get back up.”

Bracalello honored

Forward Simone Bracalello was named the North American Soccer League’s Player of the Month for May. Bracalello scored three of his team-leading four goals in May, including two at Tampa Bay. His four goals are tied for second-most in the NASL this season. He also has three assists.

Book drive for kids

Minnesota United and Read Indeed, a nonprofit literacy organization, are encouraging book donations at Saturday’s game.

Attendees receive one free ticket for the game for every five books donated (maximum two tickets per household). Read Indeed is the vision of Maria Keller, a seventh-grader from Hopkins who began collecting books when she was 8 years old.

Her goal is to collect and distribute 1 million books to needy children by her 18th birthday.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Minnesota 16 FINAL
Buffalo 17
Atlanta 7 FINAL
Baltimore 29
Tennessee 17 FINAL
Washington 19
Seattle 26 FINAL
St. Louis 28
Cleveland 6 FINAL
Jacksonville 24
Cincinnati 0 FINAL
Indianapolis 27
Miami 27 FINAL
Chicago 14
New Orleans 23 FINAL
Detroit 24
Carolina 17 FINAL
Green Bay 38
Kansas City 23 FINAL
San Diego 20
Arizona 24 FINAL
Oakland 13
NY Giants 21 FINAL
Dallas 31
San Francisco 17 FINAL
Denver 42
Houston 7:30 PM
Pittsburgh
San Diego 10/23/14 7:25 PM
Denver
Detroit 10/26/14 8:30 AM
Atlanta
Chicago 6:00 PM
Cleveland
New Orleans 6:00 PM
Washington
Milwaukee 6:30 PM
New York
Philadelphia 6:30 PM
Brooklyn
Charlotte 6:30 PM
Atlanta
Sacramento 7:30 PM
San Antonio
Memphis 7:30 PM
Dallas
Tampa Bay 8:30 PM
Edmonton
TX-San Antonio 20 FINAL
Louisiana Tech 27
Syracuse 30 FINAL
Wake Forest 7
Purdue 38 FINAL
Minnesota 39
Western Ky 38 FINAL
Fla Atlantic 45
(12) Baylor 27 FINAL
(22) West Virginia 41
(11) Kansas State 31 FINAL
(17) Oklahoma 30
Iowa 31 FINAL
Maryland 38
So Florida 38 FINAL
Tulsa 30
Tulane 13 FINAL
UCF 20
Virginia 13 FINAL
Duke 20
Akron 20 FINAL
Ohio U 23
Western Mich 26 FINAL
Bowling Green 14
Eastern Mich 14 FINAL
Massachusetts 36
Appalachian St 53 FINAL
Troy 14
(25) UCLA 36 FINAL
California 34
Texas A&M 0 FINAL
(4) Alabama 59
Army 17 FINAL
Kent State 39
Kansas 21 FINAL
Texas Tech 34
UAB 22 FINAL
Middle Tennessee 34
Rutgers 17 FINAL
(13) Ohio State 56
(8) Michigan State 56 FINAL
Indiana 17
New Mexico 31 FINAL
Air Force 35
NC State 18 FINAL
Louisville 30
(21) Clemson 17 FINAL
Boston College 13
Ball State 32 FINAL
Central Mich 29
Cincinnati 41 FINAL
SMU 3
(9) Georgia 45 FINAL
Arkansas 32
Oklahoma State 9 FINAL
(10) TCU 42
San Jose St 27 FINAL
Wyoming 20
Miami-Ohio 41 FINAL
Northern Ill 51
New Mexico St 17 FINAL
Idaho 29
Colorado 28 FINAL
(20) USC 56
(23) Marshall 45 FINAL
FIU 13
Southern Miss 30 FINAL
North Texas 20
Georgia Tech 43 FINAL
North Carolina 48
Tennessee 3 FINAL
(3) Ole Miss 34
Utah State 13 FINAL
Colorado State 16
Missouri 42 FINAL
Florida 13
Kentucky 3 FINAL
(24) LSU 41
(16) Nebraska 38 FINAL
Northwestern 17
Georgia State 27 FINAL
South Alabama 30
Washington 20 FINAL
(6) Oregon 45
Iowa State 45 FINAL
Texas 48
(7) Notre Dame 27 FINAL
(2) Florida State 31
Nevada 42 FINAL
BYU 35
Stanford 10 FINAL
(14) Arizona State 26
Hawaii 10 FINAL
San Diego St 20
Arkansas State 10/21/14 7:00 PM
Louisiana
Connecticut 10/23/14 6:00 PM
(18) East Carolina
Miami-Florida 10/23/14 7:00 PM
Virginia Tech
So Florida 10/24/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Troy 10/24/14 6:30 PM
South Alabama
BYU 10/24/14 8:00 PM
Boise State
(6) Oregon 10/24/14 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
Ottawa 6 FINAL
Hamilton 16
Montreal 20 FINAL
Toronto 12
Calgary 33 FINAL
Winnipeg 23
Edmonton 24 FINAL
Saskatchewan 19

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Grade the Vikings offense

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