United went to work Tuesday preparing for Saturday’s game at New England with defender Romain Metanire back from duty with his Madagascar national team – and they did so outside for the first time this winter/spring.
They trained on the National Sports Center’s turf field to get ready for a game on turf Saturday and did so under a warm sun but in chilly morning air.
Can the opening of outdoor Allianz Field be that far behind?
Coach Adrian Heath supervised Tuesday after he had a tugged a stocking cap tight down over his head, turned his coat color up against his neck. He wore gloves, too.
“Although the way we’re wrapped up, you wouldn’t think it but it’s nice to get some fresh air and a bit of sun and get out of the indoors,” he said. “Hopefully, we’re on the turn.”
Darwin Quintero, Romario Ibarra and Jan Gregus are due back with the team on Tuesday. Francisco Calvo and Rasmus Schuller will either meet the team near Boston on Friday or in Blaine on Thursday.
Others stuff from today's training:
- Heath sounded like he wants to get a better look at young striker Abu Danladi, who provided the kind of energy that almost brought United back from a 3-1 deficit against L.A. Galaxy a week ago. Heath said if Danladi can stay healthy, “he’s a big piece for us.”
- He also sounded like a guy still contemplating lineup changes after his team fell behind 2-0 in the first half at Los Angeles. He said he won’t make any decisions until he’s sure all players away on international duty return healthy and ready to play.
- Heath also said he’s still planning on veteran Kevin Molino’s return in time for the home opener April 13, but not before. Molino is on his way back from knee surgery and hasn’t played since early last season.
- Goalkeeper Vito Mannone, Ike Opara, Michael Boxall and Danladi all shouted out the “Let’s Play Hockey” call at Monday’s Wild game. “Incredible,” Mannone said. “Everything from Minnesota, I’m starting to love. It’s good to be part of that.”
- Heath on getting his first good look at Tanzanian prospect Ally Hamis Ng’anzi during a closed-door scrimmage Friday with Forward Madison FC: He’s obviously a young kid still getting to know everybody, but you could see he can play. It’s up to him to get down there, get acclimatized and get an idea of what football is like in this country. We’ll bring him back throughout the year to have a look at him when it’s appropriate.”
- Heath said another two or three players will go down to Madison this weekend for game while the team travels to play at New England.