Preview: Minnesota, possibly a year from joining Major League Soccer, must keep its focus on the North American Soccer League. The season opener at Carolina, a difficult place for visiting teams to get points, provides a strong early test.
United FC at a glance: Last week first-year head coach Carl Craig estimated having “25 percent” of his opening day roster set, a number that was “probably higher” last year. Preseason injuries and what Craig called “a stronger roster” made his job more difficult. “It’s not stressful, but it’s important that I get it right,” Craig said. A fast start is important if the Loons hope to keep in the 10-game spring season sprint. “I’ve got these lads to work with, they’ve got what they’ve got and it’s my job to guide them toward a championship, and that’s what I’ll do,” Craig said.
Carolina at a glance: Carolina finished the 2015 season in sixth place, six points out of the playoff race. The RailHawks struggled to keep the ball out of their own net, conceding 49 goals. Shoring up the defense, Carolina signed NASL veterans Kareem Moses and Paul Black as well as Steven Miller from the United Soccer League. Lining up ahead of one of the league’s top goalkeepers in Akira Fitzgerald, Carolina will undoubtedly be a difficult team to break down this season.
David La Vaque