Minnesota United fans will get their first long look at newly signed Uruguayan teenager Thomas Chacon on Saturday in the Loons’ international friendly against Mexican Liga MX’s Pachuca club.
United coach Adrian Heath said Chacon will start for the first time since he was signed last month. Heath plans to give meaningful minutes to players who haven’t had many lately.
Also expected to play are young defenders Wyatt Omsberg and Carter Manley. Both have spent much of this season with the team’s Forward Madison FC affiliate.
Chacon was a late second-half substitute on Aug. 22 in a loss at Sporting Kansas City.
“He’s very, very talented,” Heath said. “I’m really looking forward to seeing him on a big pitch where he can open the game up. We’ll probably play him as a No. 10 [attacking center midfielder], which is where we see him ultimately.”
United officials have had dialogue with officials from the U.S. Under-23 men’s national team about Mason Toye and Hassani Dotson, who were called to the team to train for its game Monday against Japan en route to Olympic qualifying.
United plays Wednesday at Houston, a match with MLS playoff implications.
“As much as we want them to go there with an opportunity to impress, the next one for us, they’ve been an important part of us moving forward,” Heath said. “We’d like to think if they’re only going to play a bit of the game, they’ll come through unscathed.”
A two-week break in Minnesota United’s home schedule and good weather did wonders for the condition of Allianz Field’s new grass pitch that has come out in clumps at times this season.
U.S. women’s national team players praised the new stadium — and its playing surface — after their World Cup “Victory Tour” visit on Tuesday.
“It’s a beautiful stadium, beautiful surface,” starting U.S. goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher said.
The groundskeeping staff re-sodded the south end’s 18-yard penalty box after Minnesota United’s last game there, on Aug. 17 against Orlando. Players’ cleats had torn up parts of the turf and the spot where goalkeepers position themselves in front of the goal was well worn.
By Tuesday’s international friendly, the field was in much better condition.
“It’s awesome, it’s beautiful,” U.S. forward Kristen Hamilton said after making her first national-team appearance. “It’s really well done, nice and intimate. Nobody is disappointed when they get stuck in the corner here. Great turf, great grass. Can’t ask for more.”