Here comes Minnesota United, unbeaten in their last three games and with a roster that is suddenly among the deepest and most talented in MLS.
There is every reason to believe that Minnesota United can and will be among the best teams in MLS when the season is over. Despite digging themselves a hole early in the season with four losses in their first four games, this is a team that is looking like it can make another playoff run and vie for MLS Cup.
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Saturday’s 1-1 result at Real Salt Lake wasn’t one of the prettiest matches the side has played under head coach Adrian Heath. But with influential players such as Emanuel Reynoso (injury) and Franco Fragapane (visa) unavailable, Minnesota United still battled for the road point.
“We’ve dealt with a lot. Guys coming in, injuries – there’s been quite a bit of adversity that we’ve had to deal with this year. We’ve done as much as we can,” forward Niko Hansen told reporters following the match.
“Watching from the outside, we just needed to keep being dangerous, keep being an attacking group, which we have. We have some amazing talent on this team to do those things so we just need to get together. And now we have these next three weeks to really get everybody back in, to get everybody on the same page. It’s a really, really dangerous group when you look at it at training, look at it on paper. We got some firepower moving forward.”
A 78th minute goal by Hansen salvaged the draw for Minnesota United, setting the club up to continue their strong form in three weeks at struggling FC Dallas. The Texas club lost 3-0 at the Colorado Rapids this past weekend.
It makes for seven points from Minnesota United’s last three games, a clear uptick in performance and results following their slow start to the MLS campaign.
As for Fragapane, he is still awaiting paperwork from the Argentine federation that would clear him to play. The winger is in camp with Minnesota United, training and getting used to his new club.
Heath is preaching patience when it comes to the paperwork, even as he was frustrated to not have his new signing available at Real Salt Lake. The COVID-19 pandemic is unfortunately raging in Argentina, causing complications for Fragapane’s paperwork.
To that end, Copa America, originally scheduled for Argentina, has been moved to Brazil due to the upturn in coronavirus cases in Argentina.
“This has to do with the federation. We waited for something to be sent back to us. That’s all. It seems so trivial. We dealt with the French authority and it was done in an hour, the day we put it in,” Heath said after the draw.
“So, obviously, I think the fact that they’re in such a bad way with the pandemic, there’s nobody in the main office, people working from home, it’s probably getting a little bit lost in translation, maybe, it’s miscommunication, whatever. Hopefully, well, I don’t say hopefully, it will be done next time for sure.”