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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Minnesota United is going with virtually the same squad for tomorrow's trip to Ottawa, with only one change. Tyler Polak will travel for Michael Reed, with the former providing a few more options off the bench than Reed. Otherwise, the other 17 players remain the same.
It's worth noting that Miguel Ibarra came off the bench for the final half-hour in Week 1 against San Antonio. I thought Ibarra was a lock to start as a playmaker in central midfield or on the right wing, but those positions were filled by Floyd Franks and Omar Daley, respectively. It was Franks that was replaced by Ibarra, though, and in his weekly analysis of the game, head coach Manny Lagos praised Ibarra's play. The United fans who logged onto the team's subreddit also rated Franks as the worst member of the starting eleven. Perhaps Ibarra, not Franks, will get the start in Ottawa?
It's also Ottawa's first-ever home match, and a 2pm kickoff. Excitement should be high by the time the game gets underway. As always, the team's Dark Clouds fan group will be watching the game at the Nomad Pub in Minneapolis, while the team will host an official watch party at Brit's Pub.
The squad, in full: Van Oekel, Hildebrandt; Venegas, Calvano, Dias, Davis, Brian Kallman; Vicentini, Pitchkolan, Daley, Watson, Ibarra, Bracalello, Franks, Mendes, T. Polak, Jordan; Ramirez.
Scorpions defender accuses Calvano
San Antonio defender Julius James was not at all happy about his sending-off against United, and he's gone so far as to accuse Minnesota defender Tiago Calvano of intentionally kicking him in the area of his neck and head. Speaking to mysanantonio.com, James said, "Right as it happened, this is not to be dramatic, but I felt like that was a direct act on my career and my life."
James, whose red card means that he will be suspended this week, reacted wrathfully, shoving a prone Calvano to the ground. Calvano was given a yellow card for the high kick, but James was immediately sent off.
It's the second violent incident between San Antonio and Minnesota in two years. Last season, Scorpions defender Kevin Harmse was suspended for six games for a postgame outburst that involved punching United striker Pablo Campos in the crotch and clocking Minnesota athletic trainer Tom Smith in the face.
Keeping tabs on Kassey Kallman
Local product Kassey Kallman is now in the pro ranks, in the National Women's Soccer League - and she's already making a success of herself. The defender, who was picked fifth out of Florida State in the 2014 NWSL draft by Kansas City, was in the Opening Day lineup for KC, against the New Jersey-based Sky Blue FC.
Kallman played all 90 minutes, and assisted on KC's first goal of the season, late in the first half. Sky Blue equalized three minutes after halftime, and the match ended in a 1-1 draw.
Akale, Yueill start for the USA again
Minnesota natives Mukwelle Akale and Jackson Yueill both saw plenty of game action in the two friendlies that were part of the USA U-18 team's camp, earlier this month in California. The two, both midfielers, were on similar schedules, starting both of the team's friendlies and playing about an hour in each.
The USA came through in fine style against Canada, winning 2-1, but blew three separate one-goal leads, including allowing two goals in second-half stoppage time, and lost to Mexico 4-3. Neither Minnesotan recorded a point in either game.
The U-18 team now returns to their respective local clubs; their next action is at a tournament in Portugal, near the end of May.
Amos Magee appears in the East
Former Minnesota Thunder striker and coach Amos Magee has a new gig. After several seasons in Portland, coaching the Timbers reserves, Magee has moved across the country to Washington, where he is in charge of the D.C. United U-23 team. For those unaware of his place in Minnesota soccer lore, Magee - a St. Paul native - played a dozen seasons for the Thunder and holds the team record for goals with 64. After two years as coach, he left for greener pastures. Eventually Lagos, his former Thunder teammate, took over the squad.
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