First of all, here is the gamer and notebook from Minnesota United's 3-2 win against the Portland Timbers  on Wednesday at TCF Bank Stadium. Now, check out a postmatch blog courtesy of Strib sports intern Aaron Reiss! Give Aaron a follow over on Twitter, as he'll be doing some United stories this summer.

Minnesota United coach Adrian Heath stuck with the same lineup he used against Real Salt Lake just a few days ago to fill in for the loss of left-back Marc Burch, who is out eight to 12 weeks with a groin injury. Kevin Venegas came in at right-back, while Jerome Theisson switched to left-back to fill in for Burch. 

That’s two straight starts for Venegas, three if counting the U.S. Open Cup match June 14. Prior to this stretch, Venegas hadn't started since a big March 25 loss at the New England Revolution.

But the newfound playing time hasn’t allowed the defender to forget how this season has been a struggle both on the pitch and mentally.

“It’s definitely been tough, going week in and week out, not being in the 18 to now being in the 18, playing,” Venegas said after United’s 3-2 win over the Portland Timbers on Wednesday. “It’s a huge turnaround. At the same time, you just have to take each week the same, whether you’re playing or you’re not.

“It’s really tough. Hopefully if you work hard and stay with it, it works out in the long run.”

Heath said the 27-year-old, first-year MLS player is “certainly growing,” but he offered little else of an endorsement.

“It’s been really difficult for him,” Heath said.

While not seeing the field for months following the New England loss, Venegas tried to reassess how he trains. He said he played too safe in that game. Now, two starts into a new opportunity, he said the biggest struggle has been playing with the ball. He’s still acclimating to playing in space and knowing when to push the ball forward. 

And there you have it! Thanks to Aaron for his postmatch contributions! Check out my Facebook Live below (or click here) and watch a debate about promotion/relegation rage.

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United sticks with same 11 against the Portland Timbers

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Johan Venegas returns to Minnesota United's starting lineup