New United center back Ike Opara played his first three MLS seasons in San Jose, ending in 2012, before he moved on to Sporting Kansas City.
That’s seven years ago. That’s ancient history as his new team heads to his old home for Saturday’s game in San Jose.
“No, no, no, long gone,” he said when asked if there still is extra meaning attached to such a game. “I think Wondo is the only guy who may be on that team that I know or played with.”
Wondo is Earthquakes’ star forward Chris Wondolowski, who is on the verge of becoming MLS' all-time leading scorer.
“That will be the only excitement, to get to kick him once or twice,” Opara said.
United on Wednesday completed its training in Blaine for Saturday’s 7 p.m. game Central time. The team flies west Thursday and will train two days there.
Here’s some of this and that from training today:
Veteran midfielder Kevin Molino is the only player on the injury report, in his comeback from knee surgery early last season. He participated in a full session this week and has done a little contact work. “That’s only around the corner now,” coach Adrian Heath said. “We are upping his workload now to the extent that he’s completely pain-free. It’s a case a bit like Ethan (Finlay). You try to pull him back a little bit because when they get to this stage, they want to keep pushing it. When you’ve done nine months, no sense pushing it for a couple weeks.”
Heath called striker Abu Danladi “100 percent” and he’s available for selection Saturday for what would be his first action of the preseason or regular season.
Heath said designated player Angelo Rodriguez continues to improve his fitness. What do they do when he’s fully fit and ready to start? Romario Ibarra has been starting out front while Rodriguez works his way back from what Heath calls a "niggling" groin injury.
“Well, that’s a decision,” Heath said. “It’s a decision we’ve probably not had in the past.”
- Heath said he and his coaches have consulted with star Darwin Quintero about new San Jose coach Matias Almeyda and his unique pressing, man-to-man system. Quintero faced it in Liga MX play in Mexico. “sSan Jose will provide a completely different situation than anyone maybe aside from Darwin has ever seen,” Opara said. The Earthquakes lost their season opener 2-1 to Montreal.
- Heath and United managing director Bill McGuire met at new Allianz Field early Wednesday morning to go over some lingering details concerning the stadium’s April 13 opening. “It’s virtually ready to open,” Heath said. “Get that snow off in the next couple weeks and we’ll be ready to go.”
- The four players assigned last weekend to Madison – Carter Manley, Dayne St. Clair, Collin Martin, Wyatt Omsberg -- will remain there for preseason games through this weekend. “Then we’ll evaluate what the next few moves are for them.”