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.