Before anyone asks, the kits aren’t out until late February. Everything you see until then are training kits, which the team will wear during its preseason games. Yes, they are a different shade of blue from the logo. Yes, Miguel Ibarra’s number is 10, and I’ll have the rest for you on Saturday after the intrasquad scrimmage. Yes, I did resist Batman-memeing this situation.
Now that that’s out of the way, welcome to a monster edition of You’ve Got Mailbag. I harvested your questions from Facebook Live, my story comments section, Twitter and email, so hopefully everything gets answered. Let’s go!
@nickhansenMN: Has there been any concern with Atlanta's roster building?
MR: Concern from United? Not really. The two clubs have undoubtedly gone about it in very different ways, but I think United firmly believes in its direction and isn’t bothering to compare itself to Atlanta. I talked about that a bit more on the Total MLS podcast.
@calvertk: Any word on Carl Craig? Is he going to be involved with MNUFC at all? Maybe our future USL side?
MR: I have not heard much about him. Have been meaning to check in with him sometime soon. I think if the team did have a youth academy or whatnot right now, he’d probably be a part of that. But things as they are, he’s not involved in anything currently.
@stlindley: Any idea if the game day food trucks will follow the team from NSC to TCF?
MR: TBD. I’ll be figuring out a lot of those logistics closer to the home opener so you guys can plan your gameday festivities.
@dvits14: They are now a week into camp, how is the mood around the team at this point?
MR: Seems good. Very positive. Ever player I’ve spoken to has mentioned how tough the practices are, but how the coaches and teammates are all enjoying it. Then again, they’re all fighting for a spot, so I doubt they’d say anything different, haha. In general, though, I can tell the coaches aren’t taking a lot of B.S. but are doing so in a constructive and productive way. Everyone’s just really trying their best to solidify their place, so it’s probably more high-intensity than your average preseason.
Tom via email: Which position group on the roster is the strongest going into the season?
MR: Midfielder. Ibarra, J. Venegas, Warner, Saeid, Molino. TBH, it’s pretty stacked.
Reid via email: What are the chances the Loons sign a former star of a European league? Who could the potential show stopping star be?
MR: Pretty much zero. Sorry to any of you DP fans out there.
Eric via Facebook Live: Any recommendations on where to watch the game in the Twin Cities when not able to make it to TCF bank for a game?
MR: There are tons of places, and I’m sure after I publish this, people will chime in with their thoughts. I know The Local and Brit’s Pub on Nicollet Mall or Nomad World Pub on Cedar Avenue are popular choices for Premier League and other European matches, and I’d assume they’d pick up on some United coverage as well. The Sweetwater in St. Paul used to be a place as well, but I believe it closed. RIP, truly.
Paul via Facebook Live: Do they have any unique team building events planned?
MR: They had some quiz games the coaches made up, I believe. Other than that, though, I think they’ve mostly been bonding organically. Brent Kallman said card games are popular in training camp, while Kevin Venegas has been working at a monster puzzle all week. And Christian Ramirez is out for snores with his #sleepcam bit. So all those little things add up.
@StephenTaylor20: Do you know if the preseason matches will be televised/streamed online?
MR: The Portland ones might be, so stayed tuned for more details on that as the dates get closer.
@mnsportsgeek: Does Anor take up an international spot?
MR: So in general with the international spots, they’re all up in the air. United doesn’t have to be roster compliant until March 1, I believe, and each team is allowed eight international players. However, teams can trade for more international slots and also work on getting players green cards from now until March, so it’s an ever-shifting process. Right now, the Loons have about a dozen international dudes.
@JCinMSP: Curious to know what, if any, technology the team is using to measure fitness levels, effort, VO2 max, etc., during preseason?
MR: So far, I’ll I’ve seen is your basic heart monitor, I believe. But I’m planning on talking with the training staff soon to go more in-depth on this stuff.
@alexschief: Have you had a chance to watch the goalkeepers train? Anyone stand out?
MR: From the trialists standpoint, I think Marco Carducci and Charlie Lyon have both been pretty good. In the little mini-games at practice today, both were very vocal and confident, which I think is impressive for young(ish) goalkeepers. Carducci did a fine job organizing the defense/giving direction, and Lyon made some great saves. But with John Alvbage and Patrick McLain plus draftee Alec Ferrell, not sure there is a ton of space on the roster for more keepers (which is something I think we all were wondering if we’d ever say). That being said, though, things could still move around for sure.
@MatthewMarkland: Will the Trib have a daily email for United like they have for other sports?
MR: I have put the request in with the higher-ups, and I’ll let you know when it’s up and running!
@kebbrown24: Are they expecting to sign any more potential starters or is the roster close to set going into the season?
MR: Let’s see. There are 23 guys currently on the roster. But we know Ish Jome and Alvbage will be on there imminently. So that’s 25. Teams can have a total of 28. So, yeah, I definitely think the possibility is there. I’d also add that the drafted guys (four total) don’t officially have contracts yet, I believe, which means some more spots could open up if United decides not to sign them. Exception is Abu Danladi. The No. 1 pick for sure will stay.
@Braun288: Hear anything about any new players/trialist/Josh Gatt flying in for camp?
MR: Josh Gatt is probably a no. Muhamed Keita watched practice the other day. He could end up on trial, maybe, but I wouldn’t expect him to sign. Bashkim Kadrii, I think , is still a possibility for a trial and/or signing. Calvo and J. Venegas get into camp Monday. I believe both Molino and McLain will be at camp next week as well. Alvbage should make an appearance soon, very soon. Schuller is TBD.
@derekjjohnson: Is the best part of relocating to MN for a new job in January immediately going on assignment to AZ?
MR: I always move in the winter, I don’t know why that is, lmao. TBH, it’s been a bit of a whirlwind. Just like nonstop action since I started not-even three weeks ago, lmao. But it’s been fantastic so far. I’ve loved reporting from on-site, and I can’t wait to do it all again in Portland in not-even two weeks.