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 will be without starting right back Kevin Venegas for a few weeks. The defender broke his jaw in practice while challenging another player for possession during a drill, and will miss 2-4 weeks while his jaw is wired shut.
United does have a ready-made replacement in veteran Brian Kallman, who will presumably step into the starting eleven tonight in New York. Tyler Polak, signed as cover for Justin Davis at left back, will serve as the backup fullback. If either Tiago Calvano or Cristiano Dias gets hurt at center back, Aaron Pitchkolan would likely move from the midfield to center back to cover.
Besides Venegas, the other notable omission from Minnesota's eighteen-man squad is winger Omar Daley, who did not travel with the team. New signing Richard Garcia also has yet to arrive in Minnesota; he's encountered some Australian visa snafus. He is expected to arrive this week, though given that he's only under contract until the summer break and hasn't agreed to join for the whole season, time is running short for him to make a contribution in a United shirt.
The full squad also features new signing Mackenzie Pridham, who will likely start on the bench as the backup striker.
Here's the midfielder-heavy full squad:
Van Oekel, Hildebrandt
Davis, Dias, Calvano, Brian Kallman, Tyler Polak
Franks, Pitchkolan, Bracalello, Reed, Ibarra, Watson, Mendes, Jordan, Vicentini
A look at the Cosmos
New York is a frustrated team - and not just because they're mired in their first losing streak since beginning NASL play in July 2013.
Both losses, to San Antonio and Carolina, were 1-0 defeats. In both, the opposition scored in the first 15 minutes, then went into a defensive shell. New York ended the match against San Antonio with nearly 60% of the possession; against Carolina, they ended with nearly 70% of the possession. In the two games combined, the Cosmos had 32 shots that missed the net, and 11 that were saved - while the RailHawks and Scorpions managed just 12 shots combined.
In other words, it's fair to say that New York dominated, and that their results haven't reflected the run of play in the game.
The Cosmos will be missing midfielder Sebastian Guenzatti, who was sent off last week against Carolina. For more on the match, including a video interview with Matt Van Oekel, check out David La Vaque's game preview from today's paper.
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