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Everything posted by Viper

  1. NHL markets: Buffalo, Chicago, Detroit: As the only three US NHL markets close to Great Lakes, that raises the idea (admittedly a logistical challenge) of staging outdoor games on said lakes. Columbus: As mentioned elsewhere, the new Crew stadium would be too small for the Winter Classic but I could see it hosting a Stadium Series game somewhere down the line. (Ditto any number of dedicated MLS stadiums in NHL markets.) Dallas: You just know the league would love to stage a Stars Stadium Series game at JerryWorld one of these years. (May or may not actually be outdoors, depending on whether they see fit to leave the roof open.) New York: Belmont Park. If iconic auto racetracks can be considered viable venues, so can iconic horse racing tracks, at least in the northern half of the US where horse racing is typically out of season during the Winter Classic/Stadium Series window. Horse tracks might even work better, provided the tracks themselves are wide enough to accommodate a rink, as the rink could then be built right up against the grandstand. (That would be a problem on many auto racing tracks, which are often banked and not wide enough to hold a rink.) San Jose: Stanford Stadium, Oracle Park, or even a new A's ballpark in Oakland (presuming it gets built). Non-NHL markets: Green Bay: Lambeau Field. It's hosted at least one outdoor college game before, but would have the same WC availability issues as other NFL stadiums, so again Stadium Series would be the likeliest route. (Interestingly, several years ago there was some speculation on the Wild "hosting" a WC at Lambeau against the Blues; that is now the most likely matchup for the actual WC at Target Field next season.) Elsewhere in Wisconsin, UW-Madison's Camp Randall Stadium and Milwaukee's Miller Park (though in both cases it'd probably have to involve the Blackhawks yet again). Given UW's storied hockey history and the numerous players they've sent to the NHL over the years, Camp Randall in particular would certainly have appeal for the league. Louisville: Churchill Downs. (See Belmont Park above. Would likely be Preds vs. one of Blackhawks, Blues, Blue Jackets or Red Wings.) Portland, OR: Providence Park, for the Stadium Series at least. (See Columbus above. Seattle's a shoo-in for a Portland game.) Salt Lake City: Rice-Eccles Stadium could host the WC, and/or the Rio Tinto in nearby Sandy could host the Stadium Series. (Either one would probably involve two of the Avs, Coyotes and Golden Knights.)
  2. I guess it's finally official that Goalkeeper of the Year Vito Mannone won't be back with the Loons (and that Dayne St. Clair isn't ready for the starting gig just yet) - they've just acquired Tyler Miller from LAFC.
  3. (Not my creation, BTW - here's the article where I found it.)
  4. The Loons did everything tonight except finish their scoring chances. The ONE THING that had me worried about their playoff prospects, and sure enough, that's what did them in.
  5. I'm going to the Gold Cup Group D doubleheader at Allianz Field on Tuesday. USMNT's the headliner obviously, but the warm-up act between Panama and T & T is likely to be the more competitive fixture. In light of the USWNT's 13-0 obliteration of Thailand in their WWC opener, I wonder how many goals the USMNT will need to beat Guyana by in order to hold off total panic mode (at least until the T & T rematch in Cleveland).
  6. The NLL's New York Riptide (an expansion team for next season) use that color in their logo. (They haven't revealed their unis yet but I'd not be surprised if they get sea-foam alts.)
  7. "Rover" (the seventh position in the early days of ice hockey) and "sweeper" (an all-but-extinct position in soccer; basically a second goalkeeper but not allowed to handle the ball).
  8. Through a very small opening, too. That this was the only goal the Loons conceded on their homestand is also a very good sign. (That they've shipped Francisco Calvo to Chicago Fire and benched Michael Boxall is another; they had been responsible for gifting a lot of goals to the opposition this season.)
  9. These look like reworked soccer jerseys, only with a large crest where the sponsor logo would have gone. (Not terribly surprising, mind you, considering that it's Adidas.)
  10. Meanwhile Minnesota has just done the impossible (by their standards, anyway): Post two straight clean sheets - against teams led by Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Wayne Rooney, no less.
  11. You'd probably have to ask Mockba about that to be sure, but my guess is that it was either damaged before the event or not fully stitched together in time. Also, about a second after I took that photo, the loon tifo tore away at the top and fell onto the Wonderwall.
  12. Here's the epic six-part tifo unfurled before kickoff of the Allianz Field opener, featuring all previous incarnations of pro soccer in Minnesota. The slogan: "A storied past/Flies home at last". The stadium design definitely worked as advertised when it came to amplifying the crowd noise. My seats are about the same distance from the supporters' section as they were last season at TCF Bank Stadium, but they sounded twice as loud. Also, earlier today I watched a replay on the ESPN app and the supporters' chants and songs came through much more loud and clear than in telecasts at most other MLS stadiums of comparable size. It sounded more like a game in Atlanta or Seattle than, say, Kansas City. The game itself was insane: Four goals in an eight-minute span, followed by an own-goal by each side (NYCFC's was an epic howler by the keeper, something the Loons have their own history with), Loon defender Michael Boxall's bloody nose forcing him to change into a "blank" jersey, players from both sides laid out by a clash of heads, and a scuffle in stoppage time. The result (a 3-3 draw) wasn't what I'd hoped for, but it certainly got the Allianz Field era off to a rousing start.
  13. So... MLS scheduled MNUFC to open with five games on the road, mainly because of Minnesota's knack for getting blasted by snowstorms in March, including during the Loons' MLS debut game two seasons ago. If forecasts are accurate, their reward will be having to clear up to three feet of snow from the Allianz Field pitch in the 24-48 hours prior to its grand opening, while St. Paul is digging out from the same, thanks to the mid-April mega-storm heading for the nation's midsection later this week. They can't catch a break when it comes to their big opening events.
  14. Today I made the first of many pilgrimages to Allianz Field - in this case, for a special season ticket holders' event. The first picture is from just inside the southwest gate. The other two were taken from the highest accessible point in the stadium - the top of the east-side upper deck's center section.
  15. As a MNUFC season ticket holder I got to visit Allianz Field for the first time today, including a tour of the locker room. There, I observed that all the player stalls were decked out with the team's new white kits instead of their gray primaries. Here is an example: The team isn't playing this week so they obviously aren't using their gray kits, so I suspect this is the team's way of hinting at what they'll be wearing for their home opener on April 13.
  16. San Jose 0:3 Minnesota. I think we can now safely say the Loons' days as road doormats are now over. That is very bad news for the other 23 teams.
  17. Also yesterday, for the first time in their MLS history, Minnesota defeated a conference opponent (Vancouver) on the road. For the most part, their offseason defensive upgrades worked as advertised. Both the Whitecaps' goals were on set pieces and against the run of play, especially the one in the first half which the Loons otherwise dominated. Next week at Quakes is also a winnable game, especially if they can work out their set-piece defending problems.
  18. The Loons get NYCFC to open Allianz Field on April 13. They also just landed their third DP. Earlier I mentioned they were looking at midfielder Jan Kirchhoff; that's still up in the air, but today they added a different midfielder named Jan.
  19. Portland Timbers are feeling Minnesota's pain in the first half, with a goal conceded off a turnover and a defensive miscue. (The Loons, of course, have been notorious for both during their two seasons in MLS.) If ATL scores again it's pretty much over. Update: Aaaaaaand it's over.
  20. Likewise, some Loons fans are upset at news that Allianz Field will host next year's St. John's vs. St. Thomas Division III football game. (Two years ago these teams set a D-III attendance record playing a game at Target Field; Allianz holds about half that capacity.)
  21. For all intents and purposes, LAFC's expansion partner is... FCC. AUFC and MNUFC came in at the same time to take MLS from 20 to 22 teams. LAFC made it 23, and now FCC's making it 24. The circumstances of MNUFC's entry into MLS were quite different from those of AUFC and LAFC, and pretty much guaranteed that the Loons were going to struggle for their first two years in the league. The short version is that AUFC and LAFC were true expansion franchises, each announced three years in advance of their inaugural seasons, which gave them that much time to plan and build their organizations and rosters; whereas MNUFC's move to MLS for the 2017 season wasn't finalized until deep into their 2016 NASL season, and even then they couldn't begin the transition in earnest until after that season was done - which left them about three months instead of years to blow up and rebuild their coaching staff and most of their roster. (Staying in the NASL until they were ready for a proper MLS debut in a new stadium wasn't really an option, as the NASL had already entered its slow death spiral at that point.) Coming from the USL, and also not being finalized until midway through the previous season, FCC's situation resembles MNUFC's more than the other recent MLS newcomers. Judging from the Loons' experience, FCC's best strategy may be to leave their USL squad mostly intact at first, and just build as they go from there.
  22. Next thing you know, the NFL will be playing games in London or something.
  23. According to The Athletic's Jeff Reuter (paywall alert), MNUFC has been working out former Premier League and Bayern Munich midfielder Jan Kirchhoff (currently a free agent), and could sign him as soon as the week after MLS Cup. If that happens, Kirchhoff would instantly become the best #6 the Loons have had, and apparently his skill set applies to center-back as well. The only red flag is his injury history, though he's managed to stay healthy for over a year and he's still fairly young (28). He'd be a high-upside and relatively inexpensive add to the club and make its back half considerably stronger (especially if they can also land a dedicated #6 for more roster flexibility).