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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Star Tribune special sections editor Paul Duncan is visiting family in the UK, and following Minnesota United's preseason tour. He sent along the following report from United's match that took place earlier this afternoon.
Minnesota United continued its preseason tour of England with a two-hour scrimmage against Pro Player Academy, a team of young Premier League prospects and hopefuls, at Stone Dominoes FC in Staffordshire.
Everyone expected Pro Player Academy to give Minnesota a stern test of the team’s skill and fitness - especially as it included three prospects from Manchester City, one of whom was an U-17 World Cup winner with Nigeria. But in the end, it was a completely one-sided 8-0 stroll for the Loons, against a team that at times looked like they just met yesterday. Certainly the opening 15 minutes against lowlier Matlock Town on Monday night was tougher than anything faced by United here.
From the first shot on goal after three minutes, Minnesota was in complete control of the match. Dominant in the air, quick of feet on the ground, more cohesive as a team and more committed to every ball, coach Manny Lagos will have been delighted with the shift put in by his players, even if he might have expected more from the opposition. The only downside to what ended up being a nice workout was an injury to Pablo Campos, who needed treatment after tangling legs with a defender and falling awkwardly.
For the record: the goals were scored by Simone Bracalello, Campos, Tiago Calvano, Floyd Franks, Aaron Pitchkolan (who scored twice), triallist JP Pittman and Nate Polak.
The boys get a much deserved night off in Nottingham tonight, then tomorrow afternoon they get to meet the players and staff of West Ham United at the St. George’s Park complex. Next up: Derby County on Monday afternoon.
USA connection of the day
I met a Pro Player Academy coach’s dad, who took the day off work to watch the scrimmage against Minnesota United - and played pro soccer for Buffalo in 1977.
British humor of the day
This sign was in the train on the way to the match.
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