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The United Beat

Jerry Zgoda writes about Major League Soccer and Minnesota United.

United shuffles lineup, Quintero, Boxall, Molino return as starters

Your MNUFC lineup for tonight’s game against Columbus at Allianz Field is out and it’s noticeably reshuffled, into a 4-2-3-1 formation.

Veteran defender Ike Opara is out as both starter and sub after not training much of last week because of what coach Adrian Heath called a “slight knock” that he said wouldn’t keep Opara from playing against the Crew.

Darwin Quintero moves back into the starting 11 after he entered the last two games as a second-half substitute for the first time as a Loon. He’s between Kevin Molino and former Columbus star Ethan Finlay just beneath striker Angelo Rodriguez and ahead of midfielders Ozzie Alonso and Jan Gregus.

Miguel Ibarra moves to a left-back position while Michael Boxall also returns as a starter on the backline that has Brent Kallman in the middle with him and Romain Metanire at right back.

Rasmus Schuller, Eric Miller and Abu Danladi move to substitute roles tonight.

Metanire will start at right back after he missed Friday’s training to be at the hospital with his wife Aude. She gave birth to the couple’s second child before Saturday’s opening kick to the couple’s second child, a boy named Isayah.

And there’s more baby news: Goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth’s wife had a daughter, Quinn as well, their first child.

Shuttleworth remains sidelined by a knee injury, which makes rookie Dayne St. Clair the backup goalkeeper.

Here’s tonight's lineup against a Columbus team that started the season 4-1-1 but has lost six of its last seven games:

                                   Angelo Rodriguez

             Kevin Molino     Darwin Quintero    Ethan Finlay

                               Ozzie Alonso   Jan Gregus

    Miguel Ibarra       Michael Boxall    Brent Kallman    Romain Metanire

                                     Vito Mannone


United's 'Machine' Metanire: Is he among the best in MLS?

Minnesota United fullback Romain Metanire met for the first time with the local media at length – nearly 20 minutes – after training Thursday in Blaine.

Assisted by a French language interpreter, he addressed all kinds of topics, including:

  • He left France’s top league at age 28 (he turned 29 in March) for Minnesota and MLS and what he called "a new experience, a new challenge.” He had vacationed in New York City and visited a friend who lives there and he liked it.
  • He moved here in January with his wife and a child and they’re expecting their second child, and soon. “The due date is sometime this week,” he said. “Baby is coming.”
  • He calls France’s Ligue 1 a lot more tactical and MLS more physical, which he likes, but also more open with more room to run. Teammate Ike Opara nicknamed him “The Machine” because of his fitness and willingness to push forward and still be able to get back and cover. He attributes part of that to having been a forward until he was 17 or 18. One of his team’s defenders was injured, so he stepped in and stayed there, signing his first pro career as a defender.
  • United coach Adrian Heath calls him MLS’ best right back so far this season. When asked about that, Metanire said “Time will tell.”
  • Born and raised in France, he plays for the Madagascar national team because his grandmother is from there. His parents are from a French island territory in the Indian Ocean.
  • He called his first month here, February, “very cold” but said he and his family “survived” the winter by staying indoors as much as possible. He called his main issue with snow logistical. “Like where to put it, what to do with it.” What he tried not to do is drive in it.

Opponents have adjusted to Metanire’s presence and threat down that right side and have changed tactics that Heath said will open other options elsewhere.

One other thing from training:

Opara was back participating fully and appears fine for Saturday’s home game against Columbus after training on his own the last couple days.

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