Andy Greder / St. Paul Pioneer Press
ST. PAUL — On offense or defense, Minnesota United's set pieces have been bad the past three weeks. But over the course of the Loons' 52 games in Major League Soccer, the numbers from corner and free kicks have been even worse. Four goals conceded on corner kicks have cost the Loons in three losses since June 23, including game-winners for Colorado and Dallas, and two in a 3-0 loss to Houston last Saturday. After that loss, coach Adrian Heath said he was contemplating what he could do to stanch the bleeding.
ST. PAUL — Minnesota United's splash at the start of the summer transfer window continued Tuesday, July 10, with the addition of the club's second Designated Player. The Loons' acquisition of striker Angelo Rodriguez from Deportes Tolima in Colombia comes one day after the team added speedy Ecuadorian winger Romario Ibarra.
ST. PAUL — Minnesota United added its first player of the summer transfer window on Monday, July 9, signing winger Romario Ibarra, a 23-year-old Ecuadorian expected to inject speed into the Loons' lineup. To complete the transfer, Minnesota used Target Allocation Money, a Major League Soccer fund created to acquire players who earn higher salaries and are expected to be key influencers on the field.
HOUSTON — Minnesota United has allowed an average of 2.7 goals per game on the road this season, a number that increased in a 3-0 loss to Houston at BBVA Compass Stadium on Saturday, July 7. After previous road woes, United coach Adrian Heath has been reluctant to say the results have crept into his players' heads, but that might have changed Saturday. "It worries me that this is a mental thing now," he said. Minnesota has allowed fewer than two goals on the road only once across nine games in 2018 — a spirited 2-1 win over Orlando City way back on March 10.
MINNEAPOLIS — Two Twins prospects and a trio of coaches were invited Friday, July 6, to the Futures Game on July 16 at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C. They are outfielder Alex Kirilloff, who has a hitting line of .332/.383/.577 at both Class A affiliates in Cedar Rapids and Fort Myers this season, and pitcher Lewis Thorpe, who is 4-4 with a 4.04 earned-run average in 16 games and 15 starts with Class AA Chattanooga this season. Kirilloff, of Pittsburgh, will be managed by former Twins all-star Torii Hunter.
ST. PAUL — Friday, July 6, marked the two-year anniversary of Adrian Heath feeling as if the rug was pulled out from underneath him in his surprise firing as Orlando City's head coach. "That was a blow," Heath told the Pioneer Press during a half-hour interview in his office this week. "I think it makes you a little bit more cynical." Heath coached 50 MLS games at Orlando City, going 16-18-16 from the start of the franchise's 2015 expansion season to the halfway point of 2016.
MINNEAPOLIS — The Twins remain hopeful that they'll be able to sign three draft picks before the 4 p.m. Friday, July 6, deadline, the club's scouting director Sean Johnson said about 24 hours before the cutoff. The three top targets are fifth-round draft pick Cole Sands, a pitcher from Florida State, sixth-round selection Charlie Mack, a shortstop from a New York high school, and 11th-round pick Michael Helman, a second baseman from Texas A&M. Sands has a pick value of $330,000, while Mack's value is listed at $253,000. Helman doesn't have a slotted value on mlb.com.
MINNEAPOLIS — Sean Johnson and Mike Radcliff had a routine dinner on a scouting road trip at a Cheesecake Factory restaurant turn celebratory in Cary, N.C., on June 27. They were watching TV as the Twins' first-round draft pick, Trevor Larnach, stepped to the plate for Oregon State against Arkansas in Game 2 of the College World Series in Omaha, Neb.
ST. PAUL—Minnesota United's locker room was brimming with confidence after a thrilling 4-3 win Wednesday, July 4, over Toronto at TCF Bank Stadium. After his hat trick, Colombian playmaker Darwin Quintero had turned the Bluetooth speaker to Latino music. Loons teammates laughed and razzed Christian Ramirez for his fashion choice of denim overalls. Francisco Calvo and Miguel Ibarra refined their custom handshake. In Quintero's postgame media scrum, backup goalkeeper Matt Lampson acted like a reporter when he jumped and asked, "Do you want to apologize to Clint Irwin?"
MINNEAPOLIS—Darwin Quintero didn't just accomplish the first hat trick in Minnesota United's history within Major League Soccer. The Loons' playmaker created three jaw-dropping strikes to steal the show in a 4-3 win Wednesday over defending MLS Cup champions Toronto FC at TCF Bank Stadium.