FRISCO, TEXAS – While Minnesota United FC coach Adrian Heath has yet to repeat a lineup, one player has withstood all the changes.
Midfielder Collen Warner is the only Loons player to have played all 450 minutes this season entering Saturday’s FC Dallas match, where he again started.
“It’s been fun. I’ve enjoyed playing every game,” Warner said. “It’s definitely been a challenge going through the swings with the team. But as a player, you always want to play any game that you’re fit for.”
And just how he keeps at the ready for every match is an ongoing process that focuses on not only his physical health but mental, too.
“We did a lot of work as a team in the preseason getting ready for this season and then also for me in the offseason in the gym,” Warner said. “That just continues on through the year, little bits here and there. Yoga. Also kind of getting off your feet or getting out of the city. There are a lot of things that come into play when you want to stay fit … that you can ty to do to try and keep your body and your mind fresh for every game.”
While many players have missed matches for unavoidable reasons like injuries or national team duty, several have also dropped because of performance.
But Heath said the completion at that holding midfield area where Warner plays has been stiff, with at least four players capable of playing in those two spots. Ibson has succeeded there while Rasmus Schuller has trained “really well” in response to losing his starting spot. New addition Sam Cronin earned the start alongside Warner vs. Dallas.
New kids on the pitch
Cronin and fellow new addition Marc Burch both started in their first match as Loons after joining the team from the Colorado Rapids earlier this week. Burch came in for left-back Justin Davis.
“[Burch and Cronin] have gone down really well with the group, as I expected,” Heath said. “Everyone realizes decisions get made for the right reasons. … Every decision I ever make is for the benefit of the team.”
Center back Vadim Demidov, a former starter and captain on the pitch, didn’t make the match-day squad for the first time against FC Dallas. The marquee signing lost his starting spot by the third match of the season, then started against New England because of a depleted squad and sat on the bench last weekend against Real Salt Lake.