Even though Francisco Calvo returned to Minnesota United on Sunday, he was still wrapped up in the World Cup.
After meeting with the media to reflect on his experience, his eye caught a laptop playing Friday morning’s Sweden-Switzerland round of 16 match. He had to stop and watch for a few seconds before hustling to the locker room at the National Sports Center to change into his training gear for practice.
Calvo played a total of 105 minutes at the World Cup, starting in Costa Rica’s 1-0 loss to Serbia and coming on as a sub in the team’s 2-0 loss to Brazil before sitting the 2-2 draw with Switzerland. While he accomplished a goal of starting a World Cup game, he said he felt he played just OK and wished he had played more minutes.
Coming out of the group stage with just one point was disappointing for the Loons’ captain, but overall, he called the World Cup experience “amazing” and “a dream.”
“I’m really happy to have that experience because not most of the players have the chance to get into the World Cup,” Calvo said. “So now, I just want to translate everything to my team and my teammates.”
Calvo said his biggest takeaways from the tournament were the intensity at that top level and how subtle things can make a big difference.
“I’m pretty sure if me and my teammate are a little bit more intense, more dynamic, more touch the ball and move, we’re going to be a different team,” Calvo said. “So I want to translate that.”
Upon arriving back in Costa Rica after the World Cup, Calvo’s mom messaged him to share the news that he would be in the MLS All-Star Game on Aug. 1.
“I’m really happy,” Calvo said. “When I get to the MLS All-Star Game, I want to train hard the couple days we’re going to train and then if the coach picks me to get into the field, I’m going to do my best.
“It’s an honor,” Calvo said of Atlanta United coach Gerardo “Tata” Martino picking him for the game. “He was a Barcelona coach. I think he knows a lot about football, and I wasn’t expecting that [honor], to be honest.”
Note: With his fifth yellow card of the season Wednesday, Calvo will serve an accumulation suspension on Saturday at Houston.
Before Wednesday’s 4-3 victory against Toronto, the Loons hadn’t won in regulation in more than a month and had scored only three goals in the past five games.
Striker Christian Ramirez said the offense just chose not to focus on the scoring drought and instead looked at the good aspects of the team.
“We created enough chances last game [Friday against Dallas] for two or three games, and any other given day, a couple of those go in. We just have to continue to believe in ourselves and what we’re doing because if we’re doing the right things, continue to make the defenses respect that and continue to open up plays,” Ramirez said.