Minnesota United returned to training Monday in Blaine for Wednesday’s home friendly against Hertha Berlin, a team in the esteemed Bundesliga league touring America at the end of its season.
Loons coach Adrian Heath said those who played Saturday in United’s 1-0 victory over Columbus will play, but most only in the first 45 minutes so he can play others who haven’t seen much action so far this season.
Among starters expected to play a half include Ethan Finlay and Romain Metanire, both of whom were named Monday to MLS's Team of the Week for their performances on Saturday.
Heath called veteran defender Ike Opara better after he missed the game with what Heath termed a “slight knock” that left Opara feeling less than 100 percent on game day. Opara won’t play Wednesday as a precaution.
“We’ll save him for the weekend,” Heath said.
The friendly will give players such Hassani Dotson, Lawrence Olum, Wyatt Omsberg and Abu Danladi an opportunity. Collin Martin is being recalled on loan from USL’s Hartford for the game, too.
“This is a big opportunity for them to play against really good opposition,” Heath said. “But more importantly, get some minutes in because we certainly will need all the players over the next month with people away internationally. So we need everybody ready and available when their opportunity comes.”
Hertha Berlin finished 11th in its 18-team German league.
“You’re talking about a Bundesliga team, one of the best leagues in the world,” Heath said. “For some of our younger players, it will give them an opportunity to play against people at the highest level, high caliber, to see where their level of ability is in regards to these other teams and other players.”