Midfielder Hassani Dotson’s MLS debut lasted just two minutes of injury time at Saturday’s game end in Vancouver, but it was enough to make a little Minnesota United history: By doing so, he became the Loons' first draft pick not selected in the first round to play in a regular-season game.
Loons' draft picks Hassani Dotson (left) and Chase Gasper.
Chosen out of Oregon State in the second round of January’s MLS SuperDraft, Dotson impressed coach Adrian Heath and his staff during preseason, enough so that he got the call to finish off the ticking clock in a 3-2 victory over Vancouver.
He grew up in suburban Seattle, became a Beaver and made his professional debut not all that far over the U.S. -Canada border.
-- Before United moves on to Saturday’s game at San Jose – the second of five consecutive road games to start the season – let’s take a look back at the opener.
After studying video afterward, Heath said it confirmed what he saw on the field Saturday when his team surrendered a goal in the game’s six minute and another in the 81st minute, both on set pieces. In between, United scored three consecutive goals, with Romario Ibarra’s deflected goal in the 70th minute the ultimate winner.
“In general, I thought were the better team,” he said. “I thought we gave away two poor goals, really poor marking. But in general, a lot of the things we were working on was as good as I thought on Saturday. Some of our control play in the first half and some of our counterattacking the second half was very good.
“In general play, I never felt we were in danger. But obviously we have to do better than we did.”
Other bits from Heath after Tuesday’s training…
- On veteran midfielder Ethan Finlay’s play after coming on in the 79th minute on his way back from ACL surgery early last season: “Good that he’s back. I thought he was going to score. He had a great opportunity late on. He’s champing at the bit. He has waited nine months now. We’re not going to keep rushing him to get him a full 45 or a 90. His time will come, but it might not be this week.”
- On new goalkeeper Vito Mannone’s first MLS regular-season game: “I can’t remember anything that he shouldn’t have saved. The stuff that he saved, he should do.”
- On whether striker Angelo Rodriguez will return to the starting lineup on his way back from a bothersome groin injury: “We will evaluate daily what we think and look at the opposition, so we probably won’t make any decision on him until Thursday or Friday.”
- On Abu Danladi’s progress after he missed preseason play because of a swollen ankle: “He could have maybe been involved last weekend. We didn’t feel we needed to rush him, so he’ll be certainly available for selection this weekend.”