Spring championship in hand, United set for fall season start

  • Article by: DAVID LA VAQUE , Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 11, 2014 - 9:02 PM

United teammates Christain Ramierz and Miguel Ibarra bring passion, enthusiasm and lots of skill to Minnesota, which just secured a playoff berth

Big goals from teammates Christian Ramirez and Miguel Ibarra secured a spring season championship and playoff berth for Minnesota United FC. No North American Soccer League tandem produced more combined goals and assists (14).

The fall season kicks off at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday at Fort Lauderdale. United players, leery of a fall season slump affecting momentum, have Ramirez and Ibarra once again putting up big goals.

“We’ve said, ‘Why not sweep this whole year and win three trophies?’ ” Ramirez said. “People know what to expect from us, so now we get to go to the next level.”

The projection springs not from arrogance but the passion that Ramirez and Ibarra share for soccer. The California natives and roommates mesh stylistic difference on the field.

Ramirez, a 6-2, 187-pound forward, impresses with fluid play and a penchant for finishing scoring chances. Ibarra roams the midfield at a frenetic pace, packing limitless energy into a 5-6, 145-pound frame.

They scored a combined eight goals, half of Minnesota’s spring season output. Moreover, they took delight in their work and the team’s corresponding success.

“Through their personalities, they’re making other people around them better,” United coach Manny Lagos said. “They are in the beginning stages of their professional careers, and sometimes it’s hard to bring the right mentality every day to get better at our level. But they’ve embraced the challenge. And they do it with a smile on their face.”

Ramirez, 23, and Ibarra, 24, have grown into the formidable combination the team envisioned but never realized when it signed former NASL most valuable players Etienne Barbara and Pablo Campos before last season. Incompatibility (Barbara) and injury (Campos) foiled those plans.

Ibarra signed with Minnesota in 2012 after going deep into preseason tryout camp with Portland of Major League Soccer. He helped the then Minnesota Stars to the Soccer Bowl, where the team lost to Tampa Bay.

Last season, Ibarra was selected to the NASL’s Best XI team. Off the field, he helped lay the foundation to attract Ramirez, who signed with Charlotte, a USL PRO franchise designed to groom players for Major League Soccer.

Ibarra upped the ante in the offseason, telling Ramirez, “If you come here, I promise we will win the league.”

Living together helped make the process fun. Ibarra handles the cleaning duties at home. Ramirez rules the kitchen, often making chicken, broccoli and rice before games.

“He makes everything way too spicy,” Ibarra said.

“My mom taught me it’s good for your system,” Ramirez countered.

Their contrasting coaching styles led a White Bear Lake boys’ youth soccer team to a state championship. Ibarra is a players’ coach. Ramirez brings the intensity.

“He gets frustrated,” Ibarra said. “This one game our best goal-scorer couldn’t get the ball in the net. I saw he was about to tell the player something, and I said, ‘Give him confidence.’ ”

Ramirez, a rookie, tied for the spring season lead with five goals and paced all players with four assists. He ignited a National Sports Center crowd in a May 17 game with Fort Lauderdale. He scored from 25 yards out and later sent a ball off his heel toward Ibarra for an electrifying goal.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

New England 2/1/15 5:30 PM
Seattle
Detroit 69 FINAL
Philadelphia 89
Portland 94 FINAL
Cleveland 99
Sacramento 102 FINAL
Toronto 119
Boston 98 FINAL
Minnesota 110
Dallas 94 FINAL
Houston 99
Denver 93 FINAL
New Orleans 85
Brooklyn 102 FINAL
Atlanta 113
Oklahoma City 92 FINAL
New York 100
Charlotte 86 FINAL
San Antonio 95
LA Clippers 94 FINAL
Utah 89
Washington 98 FINAL
Phoenix 106
Toronto 1 FINAL(SO)
New Jersey 2
Pittsburgh 0 FINAL
Washington 4
Chicago 3 3rd Prd 1:30
Los Angeles 4
Temple 86 FINAL
UCF 62
Winthrop 75 FINAL
Coastal Carolina 68
Lafayette 59 FINAL
Colgate 54
Northeastern 60 FINAL
Drexel 65
Wake Forest 76 FINAL
Florida State 82
Rhode Island 64 FINAL
Fordham 63
Delaware 82 FINAL
James Madison 88
South Carolina 58 FINAL
LSU 64
New Hampshire 63 FINAL
Maine 58
Seton Hall 80 FINAL
Marquette 70
Binghamton 68 FINAL
UMBC 56
American Univ 54 FINAL
Navy 64
Elon 65 FINAL
UNC-Wilmington 82
Wright State 76 FINAL
Oakland 84
Minnesota 58 FINAL
Penn State 63
Duquesne 55 FINAL
Richmond 86
SMU 63 FINAL
South Florida 52
Hartford 66 FINAL
Stony Brook 72
Albany 47 FINAL
Vermont 44
Hofstra 79 FINAL
William & Mary 100
UNC-Asheville 74 FINAL
Longwood 64
Radford 84 FINAL
Char Southern 77
Holy Cross 0 Postponed
Loyola-Maryland 0
Duke 73 FINAL
Notre Dame 77
Texas Tech 36 FINAL
Oklahoma 81
Oregon State 55 FINAL
Arizona State 73
Morehead State 82 FINAL
Austin Peay 69
Drake 69 FINAL
Bradley 57
Lehigh 62 FINAL
Bucknell 68
Rice 48 FINAL
Houston 59
Missouri State 57 FINAL
Illinois State 67
Loyola-Chicago 47 FINAL
Wichita State 58
Nebraska Omaha 64 FINAL
South Dakota St 86
Northern Iowa 59 FINAL
Southern Ill 52
Louisville 81 FINAL
Boston College 72
St Johns 74 FINAL
Creighton 77
East Carolina 58 FINAL
Memphis 70
Georgia Tech 70 FINAL
Miami-Florida 50
Miss State 73 FINAL
Ole Miss 79
Clemson 68 FINAL
NC State 57
Indiana 67 FINAL
Purdue 83
Kansas 64 FINAL
TCU 61
Oregon 56 FINAL
Arizona 90
Air Force 66 FINAL
San Jose St 52
Stanford 82 2nd Half 0:26
Washington 71
Rider 56 FINAL
Siena 49
Dayton 76 FINAL
Richmond 62
Eastern Kentucky 53 FINAL
Jacksonville St 73
Saint Josephs 0 Postponed
Saint Louis 0
UMBC 71 FINAL
Binghamton 55
Akron 60 FINAL
Ohio U 72
Ball State 72 FINAL
Miami-Ohio 55
Memphis 56 FINAL
Cincinnati 44
East Carolina 32 FINAL
(2) Connecticut 87
Murray State 59 FINAL
Eastern Illinois 75
Kent State 63 FINAL
Central Michigan 65
UT Martin 64 FINAL
Tennessee St 58
Eastern Michigan 56 FINAL
Western Mich 83
Bucknell 61 FINAL
Lehigh 76
Indiana 57 FINAL
Michigan State 72
Colgate 56 FINAL
Lafayette 58
Fordham 66 FINAL
Davidson 45
Duquesne 76 FINAL
St Bonaventure 64
George Mason 66 FINAL
VA Commonwealth 70
Detroit 59 FINAL
Youngstown St 58
Army 0 Postponed
Boston U 0
Loyola-Maryland 0 Postponed
Holy Cross 0
SMU 58 FINAL
Tulsa 74
Oklahoma St 54 FINAL
Kansas State 52
West Virginia 57 FINAL
Texas Tech 73
Denver 56 FINAL
South Dakota 82
Northwestern St 46 FINAL
Central Arkansas 63
Austin Peay 67 FINAL
SIU-Edwardsville 87
Kansas 61 FINAL
Iowa State 56
Bowling Green 50 FINAL
Northern Ill 67
Penn State 64 FINAL
Minnesota 75
San Jose St 80 FINAL
Air Force 83
Boise State 82 FINAL
Colorado State 83
Utah State 51 FINAL
Wyoming 86
San Diego State 50 FINAL
Fresno State 57
Nevada 52 FINAL
UNLV 75

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: What chance does the Wild have of making the playoffs?

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