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Loons have team meeting to try to stem losing streak

Tenth-place MNUFC has lost three straight in league play, conceding six goals and scoring one

MLS: Minnesota United FC at Seattle Sounders FC
Minnesota United FC head coach Adrian Heath reacts to a play against the Seattle Sounders FC during the first half Sunday, May 15, 2022, at Lumen Field in Seattle.
Joe Nicholson / USA Today Sports
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There haven’t been many pre-practice team meetings led by Minnesota United manager Adrian Heath during the 17 months that midfielder Wil Trapp has been with the club.

But amid a 2-5-0 skid in their last seven MLS games, the Loons had one of those rare chats Tuesday.

“When it does happen, there is a different quality to it because it’s a wake-up call for us,” Trapp, the Loons’ captain, said Tuesday.

The theme was accountability across the board, from Heath on down, a source told the Pioneer Press.

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ST. PAUL — When Minnesota United scored an easy sixth-minute goal against Union Omaha on Wednesday, it looked like the top-flight MLS side would make quick work of the third-tier USL outfit in the U.S. Open Cup Round of 16 on Wednesday at Allianz Field.
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FRISCO, Texas — Minnesota United’s two goals Sunday came from the most-likely and the most-surprising sources.

Tenth-place MNUFC has lost three straight in league play, conceding six goals and scoring one. They want to put a screeching halt to the streak when the Loons (4-5-2) play Los Angeles Galaxy (6-4-1) at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Allianz Field.

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“So much of it is understanding the responsibility that we have as players on the field, to your teammates, to the fans, to the club,” Trapp said.

Stitched up

Allianz Field’s grass playing surface is receiving a facelift.

To stabilize roots, limit divots and unevenness, MNUFC is joining a growing trend in having a hybrid synthetic material stitched into the natural grass at its St. Paul stadium.

The club looked into doing this enhancement when the stadium opened in 2019, but it was cost prohibitive. The surface’s lost quality for 2022 MLS games after the U.S. men’s national team played a World Cup qualifier on the field in February served as impetus to make the enhancement now.

MLS: Minnesota United FC at Seattle Sounders FC
Minnesota United FC goalkeeper Dayne St. Clair (97) reacts after surrendering a third goal against the Seattle Sounders FC during the second half Sunday, May 15, 2022, at Lumen Field in Seattle.
Joe Nicholson / USA Today Sports

Allianz Field’s heated surface dealt with draining issues in 2019 and had its grass replaced before the MLS Cup playoffs that November.

United said the change will improve quality for Loons games, especially in spring and fall, and will provide opportunities to host U.S. national teams and “community-led games.”

GrassMax, the company doing the installation, just came from a project for the FIFA World Cup in Qatar in November. The company said it has done its hybrid stitching work at Real Madrid, Paris St. Germain and English Premier League clubs West Ham, Leeds and Leicester. MLS clubs Toronto, San Jose and Cincinnati have also done similar work on their facilities.

Gasper struggles

Former Loons left back Chase Gasper, who was traded before the MLS transfer window closed May 4, played a crucial role in two of the three goals the Galaxy gave up in a 3-1 loss to FC Dallas on Saturday.

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Fellow ex-MNUFC player Raheem Edwards could take over as the Galaxy’s left back after missing the Dallas game with an injury. Edwards was not on Galaxy’s availability report Tuesday.

Briefly

The Loons opted to play midweek games instead of having matches during international windows this season. Wednesday’s game is the first of five midweek matches. The others are June 29, July 13, Aug. 31 and Sept. 13. Nine other MLS games will be played Wednesday, including the Loons’ subsequent opponent on Sunday, second-place FC Dallas vs. last-place Vancouver. … Loons center back Michael Boxall was called up to the New Zealand men’s national team for their FIFA World Cup Intercontinental Playoff vs. Costa Rica on June 14. The Loons’ nearest game is June 19 at New England. Boxall wasn’t with the All Whites in March due to the Loons dealing with multiple defender injuries to start the MLS season. … MNUFC2, the club’s developmental team, is unbeaten in five matches, with a 1-1 draw and shootout win over West-leading Houston Dynamo 2 on Saturday. Goalkeeper Fred Emmings of St. Paul made the clinching save in PKs. … Right back Romain Metanire is in sixth week of rehab from an aggravated hamstring injury; he is ramping up work on the side, but is expected to remain out at least 10 more days. … MNUFC’s broadcast team of Callum Williams and Kyndra de St. Aubin will return to traveling with the team for the first time since pre-pandemic this weekend.

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