Minnesota United isn't satisfied despite 4-0 start

  • Article by: DAVID LA VAQUE , Star Tribune
  • Updated: May 11, 2014 - 9:59 PM

The soccer players are guarding against overconfidence, with the defending champs up next.

Two consecutive Minnesota United home victories gave soccer fans good reason to exalt their undefeated and first-place team.

But success sounds different behind closed doors.

“It’s been funny going into the locker room because some of us are still slightly disappointed,” goalkeeper Matt VanOekel said. “We think we should have done better. We’re not happy just winning.”

Confident but guarding against complacency, Minnesota (4-0) sits atop the North American Soccer League spring season standings. Now it’s off to play at 6:30 p.m. Monday at defending league champion New York.

United players believe they can make it there since they’ve made it everywhere else so far this season. They spoiled both San Antonio’s home opener and the first home match in Ottawa team history. They stayed perfect at home against FC Edmonton and Indy Eleven.

Taking advantage of a soft schedule, Minnesota defeated teams with a combined record of three victories, 10 losses and three draws through four weeks, including both of the NASL’s expansion teams (Indy Eleven and Ottawa).

“I don’t think we’ve walked off the field feeling like we stole one,” United coach Manny Lagos said. “We’ve deserved our wins. But it would also be naive to be at all complacent. This game bites you if you don’t continue to try to get better.”

New York can relate. Shut out in two consecutive losses, the Cosmos (2-2) are seeking to end their skid at Minnesota’s expense.

In the 1970s, the Cosmos, led by stars Franz Beckenbauer, Giorgio Chinaglia and Pele, enjoyed worldwide fame and catapulted soccer into the American consciousness. The Cosmos folded in 1985 and were rebooted for the 2013 fall season. New York went on to win its sixth NASL Soccer Bowl.

“We’re facing the champions,” United midfielder Miguel Ibarra said. “They’re hungry right now and they’re going to come out with everything they’ve got and try to give us our first loss.”

Countering New York’s desperation will require Minnesota to play to its strength — defense. Offseason acquisition Tiago Calvano has helped solidify the back line.

“We should commend the work we’ve done defensively,” Lagos said.

The offense also clicked last week against Indy Eleven. Simone Bracalello and Daniel Mendes made their debuts in the starting lineup and helped produce two of the team’s three first-half goals.

Still, Lagos said he wants to see “more quality decision-making and passing” near the opposition’s goal.

“We should be proud of where we’re at, but we also have a lot of areas where we can get better,” Lagos said. “There are things we can look at while we’re doing well.”

  • related content

  • Gameday preview: United FC at New York

    Sunday May 11, 2014

    united gameday6:30 p.m. vs. New York at Shuart StadiumWatch: Free web stream at www.nasl.comPreview: Undefeated Minnesota looks to remain in...

  • Goalkeeper Matt VanOekel tipped a ball away for the the net during Minnesota United practice

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


St. Louis 2
Pittsburgh 4 FINAL
Atlanta 2
Miami 7 FINAL
Washington 11
Detroit 4 FINAL
Philadelphia 4
Minnesota 6 FINAL
Baltimore 5
NY Yankees 7 FINAL
Houston 0
Tampa Bay 2 FINAL
Boston 3
Baltimore 4 FINAL
Toronto 2
Cincinnati 8 FINAL
LA Angels 6
Chicago Cubs 7 FINAL
Kansas City 0
Los Angeles 9 FINAL
San Francisco 11
Chicago WSox 4 FINAL
Cleveland 1
Milwaukee 0 FINAL
Oakland 7
Seattle 5 FINAL
San Diego 8
Texas 5 FINAL
Los Angeles 10
Colorado 11 FINAL
Arizona 10
Arizona 1 FINAL
Colorado 2
Houston 99 FINAL
Washington 91
LA Lakers 99 FINAL
Brooklyn 107
Minnesota 88 FINAL
New Orleans 110
Philadelphia 86 FINAL
Cleveland 87
Detroit 102 FINAL
Miami 109
LA Clippers 119 FINAL
Boston 106
Dallas 99 FINAL
Indiana 104
Memphis 89 FINAL
San Antonio 103
Oklahoma City 35 2nd Qtr 6:16
Phoenix 54
Washington 5 FINAL
NY Rangers 2
Calgary 5 FINAL
Nashville 2
Boston 2 FINAL(OT)
Carolina 1
Detroit 4 FINAL
NY Islanders 5
Florida 4 FINAL
Ottawa 2
Anaheim 2 FINAL
New Jersey 1
Chicago 3 3rd Prd 7:08
Winnipeg 3
San Jose 2 3rd Prd 7:51
Pittsburgh 2
Michigan State 76 FINAL
Louisville 70
Gonzaga 52 FINAL
Duke 66
Philadelphia 0 FINAL
Chicago 1
Toronto FC 1 FINAL
Real Salt Lake 2
(7) Florida State 74 FINAL
(3) South Carolina 80
Villanova 70 FINAL
West Virginia 75
Michigan 69 FINAL
Southern Miss 60
Temple 69 FINAL
Middle Tennessee 57
Siena 50 FINAL
Louisiana 52
St Marys-CA 66 FINAL
(5) Baylor 54 2nd Half 13:12
(2) Notre Dame 53


question of the day

Poll: Will Major League Soccer be successful in Minnesota?

Weekly Question





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