Frequent contributor Jon Marthaler has written about virtually every sport in the Twin Cities, and fills in on Saturdays for the RandBall blog on StarTribune.com. He'll cover the professional soccer scene in the Twin Cities, whether at the Metrodome or at the National Sports Center.
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The winter of 2013 will go down in history as the Winter That Wouldn't End - and now, its lingering effects are causing problems for outdoor soccer, even in mid-May.
Minnesota United FC plays its first game in the US Open Cup next Tuesday, and had planned to play at the National Sports Center in Blaine. The field at the NSC stadium, however, is in terrible shape after the winter - and the NSC has recommended that United stay off it, lest it be damaged for the remainder of the year.
No location for next Tuesday's game has been finalized, though team sources say that it is very likely that the game will be played at the University of Minnesota's Elizabeth Lyle Robbie Stadium, in Falcon Heights near the U of M St. Paul Campus.
If United wins, they would have a chance of hosting a Major League Soccer team the following Tuesday, May 28. If they do host that game, it would be played at the Metrodome.
If Minnesota also wins that game, they would again have a chance to host the following game, which would not take place until June 12.
The team still needs to finalize stadium plans, and clear the venue change with US Soccer, which administers the US Open Cup.
Robbie Stadium has seating for only 1,000 spectators, as well as standing-room-only areas at the top of the stands and around the field. Through three games at the Metrodome - albeit for NASL games, and on Saturdays - United has averaged 5,238 fans per game.