As the temperature fell into single digits Tuesday, Minnesota United’s pair of Costa Rican national team acquisitions took opposite views of things from the team’s headquarters in Golden Valley.
Midfielder Johan Venegas smiled as he tugged at his pant legs to reveal no socks.
“I think it’s hot,’’ he said jokingly, before acknowledging the coldest weather he had experienced playing Major League Soccer in Montreal was more like the mid-40s.
Francisco Calvo, an MLS newcomer who played with Venegas for two seasons with the Costa Rican national team, said he’s played in the midteens in Germany.
“This is cold,’’ the 24-year-old defender said. “I forget this kind of cold.’’
Both expressed genuine excitement, however, for Minnesota United’s first MLS season and its home opener at TCF Bank Stadium on March 12, a time of year known better for high school tournament snowstorms than pro soccer.
“It’s a good chance for us, to keep growing in our careers,’’ said Calvo, signed by the club last week.
Venegas added, “Now we are dreaming to win the MLS Cup.’’
First, however, they will need more teammates. United has nine players on its roster and expects to add as many as 20 more before opening training camp in less than three weeks. Coach Adrian Heath said the team is eyeing “three or four’’ more players with either MLS or international experience.
“I’m really pleased to get these two,’’ Heath said of Venegas and Calvo.
Venegas, who played limited minutes in Montreal, is a versatile player who is poised to score more goals with added playing time, Heath said. Venegas, 28, described his soccer as “happy,’’ creating and making plays for teammates.
Calvo, a regular starter last season with Costa Rican team Saprissa, said fans will see someone who sacrifices himself on the pitch. He knocked down characterizations of his play as nasty, saying, “Nah, nah, nah, I just go hard every play and try to defend the net.’’
“They’re hungry to do well,’’ Heath said. “I think their best years are ahead of them.’’
Earlier Tuesday, the club announced its ninth player, trading for midfielder Collin Martin of D.C. United in exchange for the Loons’ fourth pick in the 2018 SuperDraft. Martin, 22, has made 15 MLS appearances over his career. He has spent much of his time as a professional at D.C. United’s USL affiliate club in Richmond on loan.