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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SoccerCentric correspondent Wes Burdine (@MnNiceFC) was at Minnesota United FC training today. We're always happy to hear from Wes, especially when he can cover training for the blog. Wes?
Ahead of their their Saturday meeting with FC Edmonton, Minnesota United FC started training at the National Sports Center with finishing drills, and ended with two short full-sided scrimmages, matching their standard formation against the 4-3-3 lineup that the 'Montons almost always employ. The training pitch at NSC makes it difficult to play on the ground, and there were quite a few long balls.
You gotta have heart
Assistant Coach Carl Craig said that the team has been using heart rate monitors for training ever since their preseason tour to England. During the tour, the English Football Association lent the team a monitoring system, and the Loons have been using their own system in training ever since.
New signing Burgos participates
The Loons’ newest signing, Rafael Burgos, was on the pitch for the faux-Monton side, alternating in a wide and auxiliary-forward role. Having not played since the end of the European season, he is not yet up to the rest of the team’s fitness. At this point, it’s still unclear if he’ll play a role in Saturday’s game, but if he does, it will surely be off the bench.
Still stuck in Blaine
United is hopeful they can begin training at the brand-new Bielenberg training facility in Woodbury in September. However, since the team originally hoped to start there in July, we can only wait and see on an actual start date. A team spokesman wouldn’t elaborate on the delayed opening, beyond citing regular construction delays.
Currently, there are three unsigned players training with the team: Tyler Pasher, Ishmaila Jome, and Gerald Ben. All three are local products; Jome, who played for Prairie Seeds Academy and is set to be a sophomore for the powerhouse UC-Santa Barbara squad this year, has trained with the team in the past.
The team seemed to be at full strength aside from the long-term absence of Pablo Campos. Campos returns from Brazil this week, where he has been continuing his recovery.
Goalkeeper Mitch Hildebrandt did ake a ball in his, uh, lower abdomen during training, but after laying on the ground for a long spell, he seemed to have recovered. “Oooh ahhh Hildebrandt”, indeed.
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