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Everything posted by Viper

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.)
  8. 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.
  9. Next thing you know, the NFL will be playing games in London or something.
  10. 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).
  11. The only thing shocking about it is that they didn't wait until the end of the season. Maybe they already have someone in mind and want to try to grab him while they can.
  12. Depending on the time of year and how dirty a mind you've got, that nickname conjures images of either Halloween candy or a certain type of sex act. Either way, it doesn't exactly scream "football", indoor or otherwise.
  13. The logo looks like a bunch of cigarettes. Still an upgrade over the series of hot messes that were the San Jose/Washington/Vancouver Stealth logos, though.
  14. One overlooked aspect of the Columbus/Austin mess is that if the move does go through, in all likelihood MNUFC* would be shifted to the East (along with FC Cincinnati) in order to rebalance the conferences at 12 teams apiece, so SKC wouldn't even have the Loons as a regional rival anymore. * Currently the only Western Conference team based east of the Mississippi; that won't change when they move into Allianz Field, so if MLS needs to make room for Austin in the West, Minnesota would be the most logical choice to switch conferences. Also, Chicago makes more sense for the Loons as a regional rival; it's closer than KC, and most of Minnesota's other pro teams have Chicago teams as division rivals. Even expansion-mates Atlanta seem to make a more interesting rival for Minnesota than SKC, and they're already in the East.
  15. Just what the NLL doesn't need, its very own Columbus Crew situation with an old-guard club playing an entire season as a lame duck.
  16. I have a sneaking suspicion that this is exactly what MLS has in mind within a decade or so - a two- or even three-tier self-contained pro/rel structure. It would be the best of both worlds as far as they're concerned - it's another part of the European model to emulate, but without having to involve any pesky non-MLS leagues.
  17. Remember the FoxTrax puck? If so, would you prefer to forget it? Well then, I have some bad news for you: A new variation on the technology has surfaced, this time for lacrosse balls. Dubbed LAXGLOBALL (yes, all caps), its purpose is similar to that of FoxTrax: To make the ball easier to see on a video screen. As it turns out, the technology's first test bed was in Minnesota this past Wednesday in a local box lacrosse league game (Minneapolis Wheatkings in wheat vs. Hastings Walleye in purple), some footage from which is posted below. As used here, all the ball does is glow; there is thankfully no fake vapor trail behind it like FoxTrax had. Of course, that doesn't mean future iterations won't have it. I'm not sure what to think of it just yet. On one hand it does seem to work as advertised; on the other, if this catches on it's probably just a matter of time before it, too, gets gimmicked up by TV networks, not just with vapor trails but stuff like explosion/fireworks animations for goals.
  18. The Loons beat Revolution tonight 2-1 - but it turns out the New England goal isn't the only thing MNUFC lit up this evening. Having been wrapped around the under-construction new stadium last week, Allianz Field's PTFE skin was fully illuminated for the first time tonight.
  19. Good news for the Loons: They have a winning record for the first time in their MLS history after a flawed but solid showing in their home opener vs. Chicago Fire. Bad news: Their next two games (at RBNY, then home to AUFC) look to be considerably harder to get points from. More bad news: Playmaker Kevin Molino is done for the year with a torn left ACL suffered in the Orlando City game (he's now had that injury in both his knees). More good news: Adrian Heath is reportedly flying down to Panama midweek to watch and possibly meet with Colombian striker/wingman Darwin Quintero, who could soon become the club's first DP signing (having whiffed on Quintero's countryman Nico Benedetti a few weeks ago). That things are far enough along for Heath to fly down there during a game week suggests he's serious about bringing him to Minnesota, and has been well before Molino's injury.
  20. In last year's opening weekend Atlanta suffered a close loss while Minnesota got thrashed. This time the roles were reversed. Turnovers killed the Loons tonight, especially the two that led to the Quakes' first two goals. Still, thanks to Kevin Molino's two late goals they managed to stay in it to the end.
  21. USA Curling is Stone Gold.
  22. Not sure if it's the lack of NHL players or the South Koreans just aren't that into ice hockey, but most NLL teams routinely pull in bigger crowds than the one at last night's USA-CZE quarterfinal - or tonight's women's gold medal game, for that matter.
  23. As I've said many times over the years, the only way I can see MLS going for pro/rel is as a strictly internal model; i.e. creating an MLS II which has pro/rel with MLS I, but both are under the MLS banner, revenue-sharing agreements, TV contracts, etc. and there are no outside clubs brought in or existing member clubs dropped. That said, given the recent rate of MLS expansion, I wonder if this isn't exactly what MLS has in mind a few years down the road.
  24. No doubt, a good many people were convinced the IOC was begging for something like this to happen when they let Russian athletes compete under the OAR banner... and now it has.
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