Defender Brent Kallman became the first Minnesota native to join Minnesota United after the club made the jump to Major League Soccer, but he was hardly a newcomer after playing for United in the North American Soccer League. In advance of the Loons' home match Sunday against Kansas City, Kallman chatted with the Star Tribune's Michael Rand.

Q Now that we're a couple of months into the MLS season, how do you describe the transition from the NASL to MLS?

A Since 2013, we've had that steady growth in terms of people coming out to see us play. And then this year it's just a huge jump, with more than twice as many people at the games and playing in a much bigger stadium. That jump was so much bigger than anything in years before. … It's definitely a level up. The biggest thing for me is that it means more preparation. We watch film, and as a defender you have to know the strikers you're going to be playing against. They're really so different week to week, and they have different strengths and skill sets.

Q United gave up 18 goals in its first four matches. How hard was it to come out of the gate like that, with more scrutiny and some criticism of how the team was playing?

A It was definitely frustrating. As a player, you see things. You see what people are writing about you on social media, and the first few weeks were kind of embarrassing, to be honest. But that's the job of the media. If we're underperforming, they're supposed to call us out. That's the pressure that's supposed to come along with it. I think we handled it well. We really focused on getting back to our defensive principles leading up to each match. We were able to fix a lot of mistakes, and that's all you can really ask.

Q Things have been better lately, with two wins and a draw in your last five matches and just seven total goals allowed in that span. When things are going well for United defensively, what's happening on the field?

A The first thing is just more time playing with guys around you. Everything gets better as you get to know their tendencies and movements. Communication gets better. And our commitment to defending the box has been much better — making sure that as we're getting closer and closer to our goal we're getting in really good spots so we have a good chance to defend the most dangerous stuff first.

Q Does being from Woodbury bring additional pressure or pride with it in MLS?

A I'm a prideful person as it is, but I definitely feel even more because I really want this transition to be successful and I want to be part of it. For me personally, I want to prove myself. I'm playing in front of my friends and family in the state that I'm from. I do feel some extra pressure and extra pride, but I think that's a good thing for me. It just drives me a little more.

Q What has the gameday atmosphere been like at TCF Bank Stadium?

A It's been good. I was kind of surprised because it's a big stadium and I didn't know it was going to be so loud. … Hopefully we can get the attendance back over 25,000. We haven't been there since the first game. Hopefully, as the weather turns, we can get more people out. But also we need to get better results, especially at home, to get more people out.