SHORT TAKES

 

 Carl Craig is looking to finalize his Minnesota United FC coaching staff this week and is meeting with an assistant with MLS coaching experience whom he wouldn’t identify. Peter Rivard, who coached United’s reserve team last year, will also assist Craig, and Paul O’Connor will return as goalkeeper coach.

Woodbury native Eric Miller earned his first call-up to the senior U.S. men’s national team and will be hoping to earn his first cap on Jan. 31 against Iceland or Feb. 5 against Canada. Miller started six games for Montreal in 2015, during the Impact’s best year to date. Jackson Yueill of Bloomington was also tapped once again for the U-20 team camp.

Real Madrid fired manager Rafa Benitez after just four months, replacing him with Zinedane Zidane — the latest in a string of hair-trigger management moves made by club President Florentino Perez. Benitez’s technical demeanor and cautious defensive style never won over some of the team’s high-strung players, especially those still loyal to former coach Carlo Ancelotti. The real problem, though, is Perez, who fired Ancelotti in the first place.