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

Kansas City - J. Vargas 7:07 PM
San Francisco - R. Vogelsong
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
New Orleans 10/30/14 7:25 PM
Carolina
Buffalo 3:00 PM
San Jose
Boston 6:00 PM
Toronto
NY Rangers 6:00 PM
Montreal
New Jersey 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Dallas 6:00 PM
NY Islanders
Detroit 6:00 PM
Philadelphia
Chicago 7:00 PM
St. Louis
Pittsburgh 7:00 PM
Nashville
Tampa Bay 7:00 PM
Minnesota
Florida 8:00 PM
Arizona
Washington 9:00 PM
Calgary
So Florida 17 FINAL
Cincinnati 34
Troy 13 FINAL
South Alabama 27
BYU 30 FINAL
Boise State 55
(6) Oregon 59 FINAL
California 41
North Texas 21 3rd Qtr 12:42
Rice 17
UAB 0 3rd Qtr 7:44
Arkansas 38
Rutgers 10 3rd Qtr 9:10
(16) Nebraska 28
Maryland 0 3rd Qtr 8:54
Wisconsin 24
Texas 0 3rd Qtr 4:30
(11) Kansas State 13
Minnesota 10 3rd Qtr 6:09
Illinois 21
Memphis 34 3rd Qtr 9:58
SMU 7
North Carolina 21 3rd Qtr
Virginia 24
San Jose St 10 2nd Qtr 7:51
Navy 14
Northern Ill 14 2nd Qtr 3:07
Eastern Mich 7
(25) UCLA 0 1st Qtr 13:10
Colorado 0
Akron 0 1st Qtr 12:12
Ball State 3
Massachusetts 0 1st Qtr 13:30
Toledo 0
Ohio U 0 1st Qtr 12:00
Western Mich 0
Ga Southern 0 1st Qtr 12:14
Georgia State 0
Kent State 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Oregon State 2:30 PM
Stanford
Fla Atlantic 2:30 PM
(23) Marshall
Louisiana Tech 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(1) Miss State 2:30 PM
Kentucky
Georgia Tech 2:30 PM
Pittsburgh
(22) West Virginia 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Texas Tech 2:30 PM
(10) TCU
Michigan 2:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Boston College 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Central Mich 2:30 PM
Buffalo
Vanderbilt 3:00 PM
Missouri
Old Dominion 3:00 PM
Western Ky
UNLV 3:00 PM
Utah State
Temple 4:00 PM
UCF
(15) Arizona 5:00 PM
Washington St
Texas-El Paso 6:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Wyoming 6:00 PM
Colorado State
Syracuse 6:00 PM
(21) Clemson
Texas State 6:00 PM
ULM
(3) Ole Miss 6:15 PM
(24) LSU
(4) Alabama 6:30 PM
Tennessee
So Carolina 6:30 PM
(5) Auburn
(13) Ohio State 7:00 PM
Penn State
(20) USC 9:00 PM
(19) Utah
(14) Arizona State 9:45 PM
Washington
Nevada 10:59 PM
Hawaii
(2) Florida State 10/30/14 6:30 PM
Louisville
Troy 10/30/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
Cincinnati 10/31/14 7:00 PM
Tulane
Tulsa 10/31/14 7:00 PM
Memphis
Purdue 11/1/14 2:00 AM
(16) Nebraska
(17) Oklahoma 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Iowa State
Oklahoma State 11/1/14 2:00 AM
(11) Kansas State
(10) TCU 11/1/14 2:00 AM
(22) West Virginia
Texas 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Texas Tech
Northwestern 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Iowa
Maryland 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Penn State
Air Force 11/1/14 10:30 AM
Army
ULM 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Texas A&M
Duke 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Pittsburgh
Wisconsin 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Rutgers
Rice 11/1/14 11:00 AM
FIU
(18) East Carolina 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Temple
UCF 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Connecticut
Boston College 11/1/14 11:30 AM
Virginia Tech
North Carolina 11/1/14 11:30 AM
Miami-Florida
Washington 11/1/14 12:00 PM
Colorado
Central Mich 11/1/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
Western Mich 11/1/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Western Ky 11/1/14 2:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
NC State 11/1/14 2:00 PM
Syracuse
Texas State 11/1/14 2:00 PM
New Mexico St
Virginia 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Georgia Tech
BYU 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Middle Tennessee
Indiana 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Florida 11/1/14 2:30 PM
(9) Georgia
Georgia State 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Appalachian St
Kentucky 11/1/14 3:00 PM
Missouri
Kansas 11/1/14 3:00 PM
(12) Baylor
Houston 11/1/14 3:00 PM
So Florida
(20) USC 11/1/14 3:30 PM
Washington St
Arkansas State 11/1/14 4:00 PM
Idaho
South Alabama 11/1/14 4:00 PM
Louisiana
New Mexico 11/1/14 4:30 PM
UNLV
UAB 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Fla Atlantic
(5) Auburn 11/1/14 6:00 PM
(3) Ole Miss
Arkansas 11/1/14 6:00 PM
(1) Miss State
Old Dominion 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Vanderbilt
Colorado State 11/1/14 6:00 PM
San Jose St
Stanford 11/1/14 6:30 PM
(6) Oregon
Tennessee 11/1/14 6:30 PM
So Carolina
Southern Miss 11/1/14 7:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
(7) Notre Dame 11/1/14 7:00 PM
Navy
Illinois 11/1/14 7:00 PM
(13) Ohio State
(15) Arizona 11/1/14 9:30 PM
(25) UCLA
California 11/1/14 9:30 PM
Oregon State
San Diego St 11/1/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
Wyoming 11/1/14 9:45 PM
Fresno State
(19) Utah 11/1/14 10:00 PM
(14) Arizona State
Utah State 11/1/14 10:00 PM
Hawaii
Los Angeles 1:30 PM
Seattle
D.C. 3:00 PM
Montreal
Toronto FC 6:30 PM
New England
Portland 7:30 PM
FC Dallas
Colorado 9:00 PM
Vancouver FC
Montreal 23 FINAL
Ottawa 17
Saskatchewan 27 FINAL
Calgary 40
Hamilton 3:00 PM
Toronto
Brt Columbia 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