Christian Ramirez’s family traveled from California to see the Minnesota United forward play Saturday. But instead, he probably watched with them from the stands.
The team’s leading scorer with 11 goals this season did not recover from a hamstring injury suffered in the previous match in time to start against the Seattle Sounders FC. He was the only player to have played in every match this season for the Loons, starting all but the first one. He has the second-most minutes on the team at 1,844.
Rookie forward Abu Danladi started in Ramirez’s place.
“We don’t get the physicality that we get with Christian,” coach Adrian Heath said of missing the 6-2 striker.
“He’s a big body and can post people up and get hold of it. But it does give us an extra dimension of Abu’s pace.”
A new pairing
For the second straight match, Michael Boxall and Francisco Calvo teamed up as United’s center backs. The pair first worked together in the 4-0 victory against D.C. United a week ago.
“We’d only really trained together two or three days before the D.C. United game, but he’s a classic player, comfortable on the ball,” new signing Boxall said of Calvo. “So I felt very comfortable beside him. Obviously, to keep a clean sheet in your first game together built a bit of confidence.’
Boxall took the place of Brent Kallman, who served a yellow card accumulation suspension against D.C. United.
Heath said it was “disappointing” for Kallman to lose his spot, “considering the season he’s had.”
Boxall also had high praise for right back Jerome Thiesson. “Since I’ve been here, he does his job almost flawlessly,” Boxall said.
“So usually as center back, you’re organizing the fullbacks and whatnot. But he’s generally in the right spot so I can focus on my own game.”
Heath also said left back Marc Burch, out since June 20 after having bilateral sports hernia surgery, will work back into the team this next week.