United FC gameday

4 P.M. AT CAROLINA • CH. 45

 

Preview: The fall season begins for a Minnesota United FC team that must overcome the loss of four midfielders, two to injury and two who left the club.

United FC at a glance: The midfield is loaded with uncertainty. Gone are Miguel Ibarra (transfer to Liga MX) and Jonny Steele (left) while Jamie Watson and Greg Jordan are out because of injuries. An opportunity exists for J.C. Banks to make his case for increased minutes. “I’m definitely hoping I have the opportunity to prove myself,” he said. “I did well when I played, but I think I can do even more.” The Loons must prove they can give a sustained effort. An inability to close out matches troubled them all spring. Of their 12 goals allowed, nine came in the final 30 minutes of matches. “If you’re not scoring extra goals to finish a game off, then you have to make sure you lock it down and we just went to sleep too often,” coach Manny Lagos said.

Carolina at a glance: Nacho Novo, the RailHawks’ leading scorer, tallied a goal late in the previous match against Minnesota to help his team earn one point and remain even with the Loons in the standings. However, a foul at the end of the match got Novo sent off and makes him ineligible to play Saturday. “We’re ready to get back playing,” RailHawks coach Colin Clarke said. “We aren’t completely happy with how we played at home in the spring, and we want to get that right and start with three points at home on the 4th of July.”

David La Vaque