PORTLAND, Ore. — Minnesota United FC gets an early peek at its inaugural MLS season competition starting Thursday.
The Loons face the Vancouver Whitecaps FC at 7 p.m. at Providence Park in Portland, the first of three games as part of the Portland Timbers’ preseason tournament. United plays the Portland side at 7 p.m. Sunday and Real Salt Lake at 7 p.m. Wednesday.
United will play each of those teams twice in the regular season, starting with a season-opening match at Portland on March 3. All are in MLS’s Western Conference.
United, Portland and Salt Lake have all played Croatian club NK Istra 1961 so far this preseason, with United drawing 1-1, Portland losing 3-2 and Salt Lake drawing 0-0.
A set of 11 players trained separately during United’s practice in Portland on Tuesday, suggesting a potential starting lineup against Vancouver. Goalkeeper trialist Marco Carducci was in goal while the field players tried to score on him. The formation looked like a 4-2-1-3: left back Justin Davis, center-back Francisco Calvo, center-back Vadim Demidov and right-back Jermaine Taylor; holding midfielders Mo Saeid and Collen Warner; central midfielder Rasmus Schuller; left-wing Kevin Molino, forward Abu Danladi and right-wing Miguel Ibarra.
All of United’s games in Portland will be livestreamed on United’s website, www.mnufc.com.
Tickets on sale Thursday
Single-match tickets for Minnesota United FC’s 2017 home matches will go on sale beginning at 10 a.m. Thursday. United will play at TCF Bank Stadium on the University of Minnesota campus this season. There are 17 matches total, including the home opener against fellow expansion side Atlanta United FC on March 12. United says it has sold more than 10,000 season tickets en route to its limit of 11,842, which equals the number of lakes in Minnesota.
Bashkim Kadrii, a 25-year-old winger from Denmark of Albanian descent, officially joined United on a one-year loan from Danish top-division club FC Copenhagen, making him the fifth Scandinavia-area player on the roster.
Kadrii has been in Portland practicing with the Loons since Tuesday. United has also brought in right-back Alvin Jones, who has played for the Trinidad and Tobago men’s national team, on trial. The current total of trialists is up to five and the current roster at 25. But with trialist Ish Jome expected to sign soon, United has just two roster spots open.