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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Another quick injury update for Minnesota United FC - and this one is pretty bad news. I just talked to head coach Manny Lagos, who told me that defender and captain Kyle Altman suffered a concussion in training on Tuesday, and will not play today.
Lagos said that, since Tuesday, Altman's symptoms have gotten "worse, not better," which has to throw his status into doubt for the forseeable future. Minnesota sports fans have seen a number of local players, like Twins first baseman Justin Morneau and Wild forward Pierre-Marc Bouchard, be affected by concussions for years, not days or weeks.
With the potential for four games in the next week and a half, the injury couldn't come at a worse time for Minnesota. Altman's first-team partner, Connor Tobin, remains out with an ankle injury, leaving United without either of its first-choice center backs.
Today, veteran defender Kevin Friedland will come into the side alongside Cristiano Dias, who has filled in for Tobin over the past two weeks. Dias joined Minnesota in 2011, so it's not the first time the two have ever played together - but it certainly hasn't been a regular occurence. And with so many games upcoming, now is not the time for United to have a shaky partnership at the back.
There's no word on who will captain the team, with Altman out. In the preseason, both Friedland and defender Brian Kallman assumed that role, and it's a fairly safe bet that one of them will do so today.