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.
Email Jon to talk about soccer.
Last week, eagle-eyed Internet sleuths noticed that Minnesota United's official website listed the team's August 2 match against Ottawa as being played at TCF Bank Stadium, not the National Sports Center. That's the date that Manchester City and Olympiakos are playing at the U in the International Champions Cup, making it an ideal date for United to promote the local eleven with a doubleheader of some kind.
The official website has since changed the schedule back to list the match at the National Sports Center. That said, it is true that the team is trying to finalize the details with ICC sponsor Relevent Sports to play its match following the Man City-Olympiakos game, and will make an announcement to that effect this week.
The ICC match will be the biggest soccer match in the Twin Cities since David Beckham and the Los Angeles Galaxy visited for a friendly in November 2007. More than 20,000 people attended that match; if ticket sales go well, 50,000 soccer fans could be in attendance for the event this year. This would make it prime time for a team like United to market itself to a natural fanbase that may be less than aware of the team's presence in the local market.
The ICC match is at 2pm, while the United match is listed for 7pm. While kickoff times can change, United's battle may lie in convincing fans to stick around for the second match of the day.
Minnesota wins final preseason tuneup, and adds two players
United's preseason slate ended on a high note, with a 6-0 win in Faribault over the University of Nebraska-Omaha. Jamie Watson, Christian Ramirez, Mackenzie Pridham (who is still on trial), Miguel Ibarra, and Nate Polak scored for Minnesota, with Ibarra bagging a pair of goals. Four of the six goals came after 60 minutes, as UNO - who is simply playing some spring soccer, and is not in preseason training - began to tire.
The club also announced that triallists Tyler Polak (Nate's younger brother) and Greg Jordan had signed deals to join the squad for the season. Jordan, a defensive midfielder, and Polak, a utility player, were both part of the squad for much of preseason, including the team's trip to England. Both were also 2012 MLS draftees who have so far spent their careers on loan in the third-division USL Pro, gaining experience. Either, of course, could make their presence felt on the field this season. However, they also bring the United squad up to 22 players, which allows the team to play full 11-on-11 training matches.
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