All Things MN United Season Thread

This season is looking to be a disaster. Someone talk me back from the ledge. We fired our coach during last season and at this point just have a rumor of a new one. We did hire a new director, but he just showed up, Rey got hurt, and then hurt again. Bongi isn't even in the country yet. Our new Center Back from Sweden just got here (a week before the season starts) and hasn't even been practicing with the team, our preseason games were a big disappointment (3 goals scored in 4 games, two of which were against a USL team). There haven't been any big marquee signings, so basically we're going with the same lineup that finished near the bottom last year (except for the coach). About the only good news in the roster change is that Lod is back and Bristow is gone. Help me out here, give me some upbeat news...
Okay, here's one upside that I do really like... Caden Clark is coming back home to MN :drink:

 

It appears that the Pioneer Press does a lot more Loons coverage. I see a lot of Tweets from Andy Greeder - but it's all behind a paywall. (I already subscribe to the Strib online edition - not going to add the PP).

But from what I can glean from his tweets, it sounds as if the plan is to try and get a lot younger and more athletic, especially on defense and midfield, so they can press the ball down the field (pitch) quicker and get the ball into the attacking zone. also saw something to the effect that they want to position the roster so that they can add talent during a later international signing period.

the new coach is supposed to be well-regarded, and is coming from Man U.

but yeah, for right now, looks dicey, especially with Reynoso dealing with a knee problem that doesn't sound promising.

still trying to decide if it's worth it to shell out $99 for the MLS season pass.
 

and it's official: from the Strib:

Minnesota United has hired its next head coach.

Manchester United assistant coach Eric Ramsay on Thursday signed a contract to replace Adrian Heath, according to a source with knowledge of the matter.

Ramsay will still need to acquire his work visa before he starts coaching the team, which can take some time.

He is expected to leave Manchester United late next week after working for the Premier League team for nearly three seasons.

Ramsay becomes the youngest permanent head coach in MLS history at age 32 and is seven years younger than the next youngest current MLS coach, 39-year-old Nick Cushing from New York City FC. Ramsay also was the youngest to earn his coaching UEFA Pro License.

The Loons have not yet announced Ramsay's hiring, which comes four months after they fired Heath, the only other head coach the club has ever had, with two regular-season games left last October.

Ramsay emerged in recent days as the leading candidate in a wide-ranging coaching search that included two finalists each from MLS and Europe. Former MLS coaches Robin Fraser and Gio Savarese were among those included in the search, completed primarily by new sporting director Khaled El-Ahmad.

Four current Loons players — including 35-year-old defender Michael Boxall and 33-year-old striker Teemu Pukki — are older than Ramsay. Ramsay speaks multiple languages, including Spanish, French and Welsh as well as English. The Loons have six players whose first language is Spanish.


(Loons open season at Austin FC Saturday night)
 

Pretty good start all things considered. I like seeing the younger players step up late in the game.
 

I saw a few highlights online. looked like they were really making an effort to push the ball up the field. under Heath, it seemed as if the ball spent way too much time in the midfield.

will be interesting to see what happens with the new coach - and also when Reynoso and Bongi are in the lineup.

I'm wavering on shelling out for the MLS season pass. I miss watching the games - but do I miss it enough to pay $99? I tried to find the schedule and I only saw a couple of matches being shown on Fox or FS1. but Apple does usually make a couple of matches available for free each week.
 


Okay, here's one upside that I do really like... Caden Clark is coming back home to MN :drink:

Wow, that was really an impressive game by the Loons. That first half was total domination. We had the same players as last year, minus two key starters, so I wasn't expecting much at all. Then along comes a totally different tactic of high pressure (ya, I know they said they were going to do it, I just didn't think it's work), and Austin looked completly hapless. Really impressive. Makes Heath look just that much worse. If Heath was still our coach, we would have been sitting back on defense with a prayer of a quick counter to get a goal.

Sang-Bin looked much better. Fragapoine actually played some defense (first time I've seen that happen consitantly), Pukki is playing great. Plus, the subs at the end of the second half did themselves proud, especially Caden. I'm really looking foward to seeing what he can do for us this year.
 

Great result against the defending champs while missing several of our best players. I love the new system. Hoping the new managers keeps Knowles on the staff as he clearly has something good going on with the younger players on roster.
 

Great result against the defending champs while missing several of our best players. I love the new system. Hoping the new managers keeps Knowles on the staff as he clearly has something good going on with the younger players on roster.
Last week's game was a fun one:
  1. Whoever sang the national anthem was great, they should have her do it every game.
  2. Love the high press. Much more fun to watch than Heath's "let them have the ball and we'll hope for a quick counter" approach. Even if the Loon's lose, it's a far more entertaining game.
  3. We now use more subs and do so earlier in the game. Ties directly into our high press approach, but Heath always led the league in not using subs, and even when he did, it was really late into the game.
  4. We really need to get Ray, Lod and Bongo back in action. Our 16-player rotation is pretty weak at the bottom.
  5. Dane is playing great, both in shot stopping and playing the ball with his feet.
  6. Our key player in the first two games is Will Trapp. Follow his movement during the game, and he's always in the right place, especially on defense. He's the key to our ability to do a high press. Without him, that high press would lead to the other team getting much more quick-counter chances.
  7. Per MLS, in the first week, Jeong was the fastest player in the league (22.5 mph). I wouldn't have guessed that, but he's certainly done a lot on the wing. He's one guy who should be taking more shots.
  8. Here's a nice article on the coaching differences between Heath and Knowles. Basically, Heath was old school just talking a lot and making it up as the week went on, whereas Knowles has a scripted week where every day is focused on a different aspect of the upcoming game (e.g., Tuesday they focus on strategy for when the other team has possession), with lots of video on the opposing team followed by practice to implement the strategy. Apparently, Heath rarely showed video of the other team at all, he just talked a lot. https://www.twincities.com/2024/03/...p-loons-and-how-it-contrasts-to-adrian-heath/
  9. The betting line against the Loons seems way too high, we're not getting much respect from Vegas: Orlando minus-115; draw plus-280; MNUFC plus-265
 

2-0-1 with three goals in stoppage time.

all done with no Rey and no permanent Head Coach.

are we seeing a changing of the guard? it seems promising.
 



Another great test in LAFC with some cooler weather. Loons made right call by keeping Knowles on the first team coaching staff. Let’s hope the new gaffer builds off the good start. COYL
 


Thoughts on the LAFC game:
  1. We were outplayed again, yet came away with the win, again.
  2. We abandoned the high press and instead went with a tight low-block. I'm hoping this was just done because it was LAFC, I like the high press.
  3. Our weakest starting player is Taylor, he's not bad, but he's the weakest link in the starting 11, especially if we're going to play a low block.
  4. Paddleford more than held his own against a really difficult side. My starting back four are Valentin, Tapis, Boxall and Paddleford.
  5. We subbed even earlier this game, which again is a total departure from past years. We're now subbing to change tactics vs Heath's subbing in desperation. Our third goal was done entirely by the subs (okay, other than Dane starting the play with a goal kick).
  6. Caden Clark has underwhelmed me, I was hoping for much more. He's now trying too hard to impress (e.g., going to much one-on-one vs using teammates). I think he'll lose his starting slot in the coming games.
  7. Our biggest weakness right now is the ability to build out of the back. Ray will help with that, a lot.
  8. Our best strength is attacking up the middle, versus Heath where our attacks always came from the flanks (so yet another big tactical departure from the Heath days).
  9. Kyndra St. Thomas is the worst color commentator in the entire MLS team. She has zero clue about any soccer tactics or strategy. She sounds like some parent commenting about their kid's game.
 

Home US Open Cup game Tue Apr 2 against Michigan Stars from NISA (third tier but fully professional league in the pyramid). Granted it'll be our reserves but could be fun to see something different and support the Cup
 



Looks like we have another “reynoshow”. I think this is the third one? Maybe fourth? He’s not worth the trouble anymore no matter how talented he is. He’s got some self destructive tendencies, he needs to get help but it can’t be on our dime anymore
 

Looks like we have another “reynoshow”. I think this is the third one? Maybe fourth? He’s not worth the trouble anymore no matter how talented he is. He’s got some self destructive tendencies, he needs to get help but it can’t be on our dime anymore

I noted that the team's official comment comes down to:

"we are focusing on the players who are here."

I wonder if the change in management/coaching staff means a change in approach.

beyond that, the issues this season seem to be more in the back line between youth and injuries, and Reynoso does nothing to address those issues.
 





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