Minnesota United midfielder Johan Venegas returned to the starting lineup Saturday against the Vancouver Whitecaps in place of suspended forward Abu Danladi.
Venegas hadn’t played since he started the 1-0 win against Orlando City SC on May 27. He missed a Major League Soccer match and a U.S. Open Cup match on national team duty with Costa Rica and sat out the two most recent league matches with sciatic pain.
Center back Francisco Calvo said he feels “really good” about his performance for the Loons. But as is life for a defender, his solid presence on the back line doesn’t always garner accolades from the general MLS audience.
“I know that I’m new here, but I feel like in this league … they always talk about other center backs,” said Calvo, who scored the Loons’ first goal in a 2-2 tie with Vancouver on Saturday night. “And to be honest, I feel angry because I think that I’m doing a good job.”
With United being a new team, Calvo said most of the attention goes toward established defenders, such as Sporting Kansas City’s Matt Besler and the Los Angeles Galaxy’s Jelle Van Damme. But Calvo said his statistics for tackles and clearances rival theirs.
“I’m trying to be the best left center back in this league, but it’s time. I know that it’s time. I know that I have to keep going,” Calvo said. “I have to show more and more to get into that position.”
On the radio
United coach Adrian Heath will begin a weekly radio show 6 p.m. Tuesday, airing on 1500-AM, running through the rest of the season. The one-hour program will feature Heath and sideline reporter Jamie Watson as hosts. The pair will discuss club news and other soccer topics as well as take called-in questions from fans and have guests. The show might be broadcast live on location sometimes.
“We will try and answer their questions as honestly as possible without getting myself in trouble,” Heath said in a news release.
Brent Kallman left Saturday’s draw early in the second half after a knee-to-knee collision with a Vancouver player. After the match, the center back said the injury wasn’t serious.