Keeper Hildebrandt making most of his chance to start for United

  • Article by: MEGAN RYAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 8, 2014 - 9:00 PM

Mitch Hildebrandt is 7-1-2 since getting a chance to start in goal for United FC.

hide

United FC goalkeeper Mitch Hildebrandt, a former backup, is making the most of his chance to start for the NASL team this season.

Photo: Photo courtesy of Shelly Yang,

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

 

Comedian Dane Cook has a popular joke about the board game Monopoly — it always ends with profanity-laced rants and playing pieces thrown across the room.

When Minnesota United FC goalkeeper Mitch Hildebrandt plays The Settlers of Catan with his roommate, midfielder Michael Reed, that joke becomes all too real.

“He gets so close to winning,” Reed said. “And almost after every game … he just starts cussing his mouth off.”

Hildebrandt said he was told even back in elementary school that he was too competitive, but he just hates losing.

“I get to the point where I want to flip the board over because he always wins,” Hildebrandt said.

While that aggressive streak may go overboard during a no-stakes pastime, Hildebrandt’s need to be the best has served him well in his soccer career. The 25-year-old has recently won the starting position over Matt VanOekel after largely serving as the veteran’s backup in his first two seasons with the Loons.

VanOekel was injured May 24 against the Carolina RailHawks. Now fully recovered, he hasn’t played except for appearances as a substitute in July exhibition games against the under-21 Mexican national team and Swansea City.

United coach Manny Lagos said both Hildebrandt and VanOekel are No. 1 goalkeepers, and that the starting choice just depends on who’s playing better. Since the Carolina game with Hildebrandt playing, United is 7-1-2.

“Competition is … always tough on any player, particularly goalies, though, because you’re only competing for one spot,” Lagos said. “Some of the guys are competing for maybe several spots on the field when you’re a field player. My heart goes out to them as a goalie because that’s got to be tough to handle mentally.”

Hildebrandt said he’s used to the pressure. He’s been playing keeper since age 2 when his older brother would prop him up on the sofa and shoot soccer balls at him.

“Having two goalkeepers always vying for a spot really helps you because you don’t have time to be content with anything,” Hildebrandt said. “You always know that somebody’s pushing you.”

Goalkeeping coach Paul O’Connor said both Hildebrandt and VanOekel put the competition aside to be good training partners, which is good considering they can learn from each other. O’Connor said Hildebrandt’s strengths are his footwork, speed and work ethic. VanOekel’s are his hands, communication and ability to distribute the ball 70 to 80 yards.

Hildebrandt is improving his distribution and on-field interaction, but much of that comes with experience, O’Connor said. Hildebrandt is hard on himself, which is good in practice but can snowball into mistakes in game.

While Hildebrandt may be intense on the pitch and during board games, he’s usually pretty laid back. Reed said there’s an impression in the couch where Hildebrandt sits for hours playing video games or watching football.

“I put so much in training that I like to just kind of relax the rest of the day,” Hildebrandt said. “I’m actually kind of a very boring person when it comes down to it.”

  • related content

  • Gameday preview: Edmonton at United

    Friday August 8, 2014

    united gameday7 P.M. VS. EDMONTON • NATIONAL SPORTS CENTER STADIUM, BLAINEWatch: Ch. 45 or subscription web stream at www.nasl.com/nasl-live.Preview: The...

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Boston - A. Ranaudo 6:05 PM
Pittsburgh - C. Morton
Toronto - D. Hutchison 6:05 PM
Baltimore - U. Jimenez
Washington - T. Roark 6:10 PM
Atlanta - A. Harang
Miami - N. Eovaldi 6:10 PM
NY Mets - B. Colon
NY Yankees - M. Pineda 6:10 PM
Tampa Bay - J. Odorizzi
Cincinnati - J. Cueto 7:05 PM
Chicago Cubs - J. Arrieta
Chicago WSox - C. Bassitt 7:10 PM
Kansas City - L. Hendriks
Cleveland - C. Kluber 7:10 PM
Houston - N. Tropeano
Detroit - R. Porcello 7:10 PM
Minnesota - R. Nolasco
Milwaukee - W. Peralta 7:15 PM
St. Louis - L. Lynn
Los Angeles - D. Haren 7:40 PM
Colorado - T. Matzek
San Francisco - J. Peavy 8:40 PM
Arizona - J. Collmenter
Seattle - R. Elias 9:05 PM
LA Angels - C. Rasmus
Texas - N. Tepesch 9:05 PM
Oakland - S. Kazmir
Philadelphia - A. Burnett 9:10 PM
San Diego - I. Kennedy
Tampa Bay 9/18/14 7:25 PM
Atlanta
San Diego 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Buffalo
Dallas 9/21/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
Washington 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Houston 9/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Minnesota 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Tennessee 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
Baltimore 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cleveland
Green Bay 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Detroit
Indianapolis 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Oakland 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New England
San Francisco 9/21/14 3:05 PM
Arizona
Denver 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Seattle
Kansas City 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Miami
Pittsburgh 9/21/14 7:30 PM
Carolina
Chicago 9/22/14 7:30 PM
NY Jets
(5) Auburn 9/18/14 6:30 PM
(20) Kansas State
Connecticut 9/19/14 7:00 PM
So Florida
Old Dominion 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Rice
Troy 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(13) Georgia
Georgia Tech 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Virginia Tech
Eastern Mich 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(11) Michigan State
Iowa 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Pittsburgh
Bowling Green 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(19) Wisconsin
Maryland 9/20/14 11:30 AM
Syracuse
Tulane 9/20/14 11:30 AM
Duke
Hawaii 9/20/14 1:00 PM
Colorado
Marshall 9/20/14 1:00 PM
Akron
North Carolina 9/20/14 2:30 PM
East Carolina
Army 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Virginia 9/20/14 2:30 PM
(21) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 9/20/14 2:30 PM
SMU
Rutgers 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Navy
Central Mich 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Kansas
Utah 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Florida 9/20/14 2:30 PM
(3) Alabama
Louisville 9/20/14 2:30 PM
FIU
Fla Atlantic 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Wyoming
Indiana 9/20/14 3:00 PM
(18) Missouri
San Jose St 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Minnesota
Texas State 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Illinois
Massachusetts 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Penn State
Georgia State 9/20/14 5:00 PM
Washington
Appalachian St 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
Miss State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
(8) LSU
Northern Ill 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas
Middle Tennessee 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Memphis
Utah State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Miami-Ohio 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Idaho 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Ohio U
Ball State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Toledo
(14) So Carolina 9/20/14 6:30 PM
Vanderbilt
(4) Oklahoma 9/20/14 6:30 PM
West Virginia
Ga Southern 9/20/14 6:30 PM
South Alabama
UNLV 9/20/14 7:00 PM
Houston
(22) Clemson 9/20/14 7:00 PM
(1) Florida State
Miami-Florida 9/20/14 7:00 PM
(24) Nebraska
New Mexico 9/20/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 9/20/14 9:00 PM
Arizona
Louisiana 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Boise State
(2) Oregon 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
San Diego St 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Oregon State
Toronto 9/19/14 9:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Edmonton 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton
Calgary 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Montreal
Ottawa 9/21/14 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan

ADVERTISEMENT

Advertisement
Golden Gavel by Star Tribune

Countdown to great deals

Bid Sept. 21-29

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How do you feel about the decision to reinstate Adrian Peterson?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

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

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close