Minnesota United FC

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Minnesota United
Minnesota United FC (MLS) Primary logo.svg
Full name Minnesota United FC
Nickname(s) The Loons[1]
Founded March 25, 2015; 3 years ago (2015-03-25)
Stadium TCF Bank Stadium
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Capacity 50,805
Owner Bill McGuire
Head Coach Adrian Heath
League Major League Soccer
2017 Western Conference: 9th
Overall: 19th
Playoffs: Did not qualify
Website Club website
Current season

Minnesota United FC is an American professional soccer club based in the Minneapolis–Saint Paul area that plays in the Western Conference of Major League Soccer. The club began play in 2017[2][3] as the league's 22nd club, and replaced the North American Soccer League (NASL) franchise of the same name.

The club currently plays its home games at TCF Bank Stadium, on the campus of the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. The club eventually plans to play in Saint Paul (becoming the city's second major professional sports team after the Minnesota Wild), at Allianz Field in the Midway neighborhood.[4]

Minnesota United FC's ownership is led by Bill McGuire, former CEO of UnitedHealth Group, and includes other Minnesota sports owners: the Pohlad family, owners of the Twins; Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor; former Wild investor Glen Nelson, and his daughter Wendy Carlson Nelson of the Carlson hospitality company.

History[edit]

On March 25, 2015, Major League Soccer commissioner Don Garber announced Minnesota United as the league's 23rd club and awarded the franchise to a group led by McGuire. The ownership group includes other Minneapolis-St. Paul sports owners, Twins owner Jim Pohlad, Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor, and Wild investor Glen Nelson. They beat out a competing bid by Minnesota Vikings owners Mark and Zygi Wilf.[5][6] Garber said Minnesota would begin play in 2017 or 2018 – if Los Angeles FC is not ready to play in 2017, Minnesota would take its place.[7]

The Minnesota Legislature had passed a bill in May 2012 for a new NFL stadium projected to open by fall 2016 and gave a provision allowing for the Vikings to pursue an MLS franchise,[8] including a five-year exclusive window to host MLS games in the new stadium.[9] The Wilfs' bid also had the support of Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges, and Minnesota Senator Tom Bakk called Major League Soccer to inform them that the state legislature would not be providing financing for a soccer-specific stadium.[10] However, Commissioner Garber said that whenever possible, the league preferred a stadium that would be an "outdoor, soccer-specific stadium, 20,000 seats, playing on grass" as opposed to larger, covered venues with artificial turf like U.S. Bank Stadium,[11] and McGuire had the support of Hennepin County Commissioner Mike Opat and at least three members of the Minneapolis City Council.[10]

Minnesota United FC vs Atlanta United FC in their inaugural MLS home match at TCF Bank Stadium, March 12, 2017.

On August 19, 2016, it was announced that Minnesota United would play in the 2017 Major League Soccer season, with home matches at TCF Bank Stadium.[12][13][14]

The team played their inaugural Major League Soccer match on March 3, 2017, a 5–1 away defeat to the Portland Timbers at Providence Park. The result represented the heaviest defeat by an expansion side making their debut. Previously no MLS expansion team had lost by more than two goals in their first game.[15] Christian Ramirez scored the team's first MLS goal.[16] The following weekend they played their home opener against fellow expansion team Atlanta United FC in a snowstorm with an MLS record-low kickoff temperature of 19 °F (−7 °C).[17] They lost the game 6–1,[18] handing Minnesota more unwanted records including the record defeat of any expansion side and becoming the only team in MLS history to concede five or more in consecutive games.[19] Following a 2–2 draw at the Colorado Rapids and a 5–2 loss at New England Revolution, United had conceded 18 goals in their first four games, which is an MLS record through the first six games of a season.[20] The team got its first win in MLS with a 4–2 home victory over Real Salt Lake on April 1.[21] As the season progressed, so had the team. In the mid season, Minnesota had acquired native Ethan Finlay from Columbus and had made other signings to improve on the field. United at the end of the season had finished ninth in the conference.

Stadium[edit]

Coordinates: 44°57′10″N 93°09′54″W / 44.9528°N 93.1651°W / 44.9528; -93.1651 McGuire stated a desire to build an 18,500-seat, outdoor soccer-specific stadium next to the Minneapolis Farmers Market in downtown Minneapolis.[22] At the time of the club's launch, the league did not give any timeline for the stadium plan, but said it was working on finalizing a plan by July 1, 2015, the deadline set by the league.[10] Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton said he would oppose a publicly financed stadium, but said he would not oppose ancillary support for infrastructure reinforcements.[11]

In a plan released in April 2015, the ownership showed a projected cost for the stadium of $250 million: $100 million for MLS expansion fee, $30 million for land acquisition, and $120 million for construction.[10] The ownership group met with Governor Dayton and other state political leaders to share the plan.[23] The group asked the politicians for a sales tax exemption of up to $3 million on construction materials, as well as breaks or caps on city and county property taxes for the stadium site.[24] The tax relief could potentially add up to around $50 million.[10]

The day after the meeting, Mayor Hodges said she opposed the sales tax and property tax exemption because unlike other stadiums in Minneapolis that have received similar breaks, Minnesota United's stadium would be privately owned.[25] The following week, the Minnesota Senate voted 61-4 to prevent any state funds or tax expenditures from being used for the stadium, although the vote was termed "largely symbolic" as McGuire had not asked for state funds and the bill would not prevent the team from seeking city or county funds.[26] McGuire later said that he would be open to signing the property over to Minneapolis, Hennepin County, or another public entity if that would make property tax exemption possible.[27]

Although the July 1 deadline passed without a stadium deal, and the plan for a Downtown Minneapolis stadium was the primary reason for choosing McGuire's group, league deputy commissioner Mark Abbott said Minnesota was still considered an expansion site, partly because of interest from the neighboring St. Paul.[28] Later that month, St. Paul mayor Chris Coleman spoke to Abbott proposed building on a city-owned vacant lot that formerly housed the Metro Transit bus barn near Interstate 94.[29]

On August 31, 2015, the team's deal for an exclusive right to purchase industrial land near the Farmer's Market expired with no public statement about any extension of the deal.[30]

On September 8, 2015, the Ramsey County Board of Commissioners passed a non-binding resolution to support the stadium's construction on the St. Paul bus barn site, provided the design and construction are paid for by private funds.[31] On October 23, 2015, it was announced that Minnesota United would build a stadium on the 35-acre St. Paul Bus Barn site.[32] The proposed stadium will seat approximately 20,000, is to be completed in 2018, and will be privately financed.[33]

On November 25, 2015, Minnesota United FC hired Populous to design the stadium.[34] On December 9, 2015, the team hired Mortenson Construction as part of the stadium construction along with Populous.[35]

On February 24, 2016, the team revealed design plans for their 21,500-seat soccer-specific stadium, set to be built by 2018 and financed privately by the team.[36]

On July 25, 2017, the stadium's name was announced as Allianz Field,[37][38] which is set to open in March 2019.[39]

Players and staff[edit]

Players[edit]

As of July 9, 2018[40]
No. Position Player Nation
2 Defender Carter Manley  United States
3 Defender Jérôme Thiesson   Switzerland
5 Defender Francisco Calvo  Costa Rica
6 Midfielder Sam Cronin  United States
7 Midfielder Ibson  Brazil
8 Defender Marc Burch  United States
9 Forward Ángelo Rodríguez (DP)  Colombia
10 Midfielder Miguel Ibarra  United States
11 Midfielder Romario Ibarra  Ecuador
12 Midfielder Fernando Bob  Brazil
13 Midfielder Ethan Finlay  United States
14 Defender Brent Kallman  United States
15 Defender Michael Boxall  New Zealand
16 Midfielder Harrison Heath (HGP)  England
17 Midfielder Collin Martin (HGP)  United States
18 Midfielder Kevin Molino  Trinidad and Tobago
19 Midfielder Frantz Pangop  Cameroon
20 Midfielder Rasmus Schüller  Finland
22 Defender Wyatt Omsberg  United States
23 Forward Mason Toye (GA)  United States
24 Goalkeeper Alex Kapp  United States
25 Forward Darwin Quintero (DP)  Colombia
26 Midfielder Collen Warner  United States
27 Defender Bertrand Owundi  Cameroon
28 Goalkeeper Matt Lampson (HGP)  United States
30 Defender Eric Miller  United States
31 Midfielder Maximiniano (on loan from Fluminense)  Brazil
32 Midfielder Alexi Gómez (on loan from Universitario)  Peru
33 Goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth  United States
99 Forward Abu Danladi (GA)  Ghana

Out on loan[edit]

No. Position Player Nation
Midfielder Johan Venegas (on loan to Deportivo Saprissa)  Costa Rica

Management[edit]

Head coach history
  • Adrian Heath  England: November 29, 2016 – present
Sporting director history
  • Manny Lagos  United States: 2015 – present

Team records[edit]

League and cup history[edit]

Season P W L D PTS GF GA Position Open Cup Playoffs CCL
2017 34 10 18 6 36 47 70 9th (West) 4th round Did not qualify Not eligible
2018 28 9 16 3 30 40 55 10th (West) Round of 16 Did not qualify Not eligible

Record vs. international opponents[edit]

Date Competition Venue Home Team Result Away Team
February 3, 2017 Friendly Kino Sports Complex Minnesota United FC 1–1 Croatia NK Istra 1961
July 15, 2017 Friendly TCF Bank Stadium Minnesota United FC 1–1 Mexico Atlas
July 11, 2018 Friendly TCF Bank Stadium Minnesota United FC 1–2 Costa Rica Saprissa

Top goalscorers[edit]

As of October 6, 2018[46]
# Name Career MLS Playoffs Open Cup CCL Total
1 United States Christian Ramirez 2017–2018 21 0 0 0 21
2 Colombia Darwin Quintero 2018– 11 0 0 0 11
3 United States Miguel Ibarra 2017– 10 0 0 0 10
4 Ghana Abu Danladi 2017– 9 0 0 0 9
Trinidad and Tobago Kevin Molino 2017– 9 0 0 0
6 United States Ethan Finlay 2017– 5 0 0 0 5
7 Brazil Ibson 2017– 4 0 0 0 4
8 Ecuador Romario Ibarra 2018– 3 0 0 0 3
Colombia Ángelo Rodríguez 2018– 3 0 0 0
9 New Zealand Michael Boxall 2017– 2 0 0 0 2
Costa Rica Francisco Calvo 2017– 2 0 0 0
United States Brent Kallman 2017– 2 0 0 0
Scotland Sam Nicholson 2017–2018 2 0 0 0
Switzerland Jérôme Thiesson 2017– 2 0 0 0
Costa Rica Johan Venegas 2017– 2 0 0 0

Matches played[edit]

As of October 6, 2018[47]
# Name Career MLS Playoffs Open Cup CCL Total
1 United States Miguel Ibarra 2017– 59 0 2 0 61
2 United States Bobby Shuttleworth 2017– 57 0 2 0 59
3 Brazil Ibson 2017– 57 0 1 0 58
4 United States Christian Ramirez 2017–2018 50 0 2 0 52
5 Costa Rica Francisco Calvo 2017– 51 0 0 0 51
6 Switzerland Jérôme Thiesson 2017– 47 0 1 0 48
7 United States Brent Kallman 2017– 44 0 3 0 47
8 United States Collen Warner 2017– 41 0 3 0 44
9 Ghana Abu Danladi 2017– 41 0 2 0 43
New Zealand Michael Boxall 2017– 41 0 2 0
  • Bold indicates player is still with the club.

Broadcasting[edit]

All non-nationally broadcast Minnesota United games were broadcast locally on WFTC for the 2017 Major League Soccer season, then moved to Fox Sports North and Fox Sports Wisconsin in the 2018 season. KSTP serves as the team's radio partner.[48]

Minnesota United's commentary team features Callum Williams as the play-by-play commentator. Williams had previously worked for Sporting Kansas City when they were known as the Kansas City Wizards and during their rebrand as Sporting Kansas City. He has also worked in his native UK for notable broadcasters including the BBC and Sky Sports.[49] Williams is joined in the commentary box by Kyndra de St. Aubin who provides color commentary. De St. Aubin, a Stillwater, Minnesota native, is the only female color commentator currently covering Major League Soccer. Prior to joining Minnesota United's broadcast team, she worked across the country covering many men's and women's soccer games at college and professional levels.[50] She also covered the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup as part of the five broadcast teams that covered that tournament.[51] Williams and de Saint Aubin are joined by sideline commentator and former Minnesota United player Jamie Watson.

Club culture[edit]

Mascot[edit]

PK the loon

Minnesota United's mascot is PK, a loon. PK has been the club mascot since mid-2014.[52][53]

Kit sponsor[edit]

In January 2017, Minnesota United announced that the Minnesota-based retail giant Target Corporation had become the team's first MLS kit sponsor. In addition to having their bullseye logo displayed on their jerseys, Target also became an official partner of Major League Soccer. This deal grants them airtime during MLS broadcasts along with other advertising opportunities affiliated with both the team and league.[54]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "RSL v MNU 2017 MLS Preseason Match". MNUNFC.com. February 14, 2017.
  2. ^ "Atlanta to join Eastern Conference in 2017, Minnesota to compete in West". Major League Soccer. August 20, 2016. Retrieved November 19, 2016.
  3. ^ David La Vaque; Jessie Van Berkel (August 19, 2016). "Minnesota United is joining Major League Soccer in 2017". Star Tribune. Retrieved August 20, 2016.
  4. ^ "Minnesota United FC announce plan for new St. Paul stadium". MLSsoccer.com. October 23, 2015. Retrieved October 24, 2015.
  5. ^ "Major League Soccer awards expansion team to Minnesota that will begin play in 2018". Major League Soccer. March 25, 2015. Retrieved August 20, 2016.
  6. ^ Baxter, Kevin (March 25, 2015). "MLS awards 23rd franchise to Minneapolis". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved March 25, 2015.
  7. ^ Stejskal, Sam (March 25, 2015). "MLS Commissioner Don Garber: Minneapolis represents everything that is spurring growth of MLS". Major League Soccer. Retrieved March 27, 2015.
  8. ^ Brian Quarstad (May 12, 2012). "MLS Commissioner Don Garber Says Minnesota 'Goes on List' with New Vikings Stadium". Insidemnsoccer.com.com. Retrieved May 12, 2012.
  9. ^ Vomhof, Jr., John (December 11, 2013). "Another downtown stadium? Somebody wants one". Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal.
  10. ^ a b c d e Turner, Elliott (April 22, 2015). "MINNESOTA DISUNITED: THE FIGHT OVER AN MLS STADIUM IN MINNEAPOLIS". Vice Sports.
  11. ^ a b Roper, Eric. "Stadium plan is crucial next step for MLS in Minneapolis". Minneapolis Star Tribune. Retrieved March 25, 2015.
  12. ^ Stejskal, Sam (August 19, 2016). "Minnesota United FC to join MLS in 2017, debuting at TCF Bank Stadium". Major League Soccer. Retrieved August 20, 2016.
  13. ^ "Minnesota United Begin MLS Play in 2017". Minnesota United FC. August 19, 2016. Retrieved August 20, 2016.
  14. ^ La Vaque, David; Van Berkel, Jessie (August 19, 2016). "Minnesota United is joining Major League Soccer in 2017". Star Tribune. Retrieved August 19, 2016.
  15. ^ "Minnesota United claim unwanted MLS record after 5-1 debut loss at Portland". The Guardian. March 4, 2017.
  16. ^ "Portland Timbers 5, Minnesota United 1 - 2017 MLS Match Recap". Retrieved March 6, 2017.
  17. ^ Rosano, Nicholas (March 12, 2017). "Minnesota United FC home opener clocks in as coldest ever MLS game". MLS. Retrieved March 13, 2017.
  18. ^ https://www.whoscored.com/Matches/1157628/Live
  19. ^ "Is Minnesota this bad? Comparing the Loons to MLS' expansion strugglers". ESPNFC. Retrieved March 21, 2017.
  20. ^ "New England condemns Minnesota to inglorious record; Timbers toppled". ESPN FC. Retrieved March 29, 2017.
  21. ^ "Minnesota United finally won their first match with of mix of good attacking and a Nick Rimando error". Fox Sports. Retrieved April 3, 2017.
  22. ^ Kaszuba, Mike; Dennis Brackin (March 24, 2015). "MLS to make 'major announcement' Wednesday at Target Field". Minneapolis Star Tribune. Retrieved March 25, 2015.
  23. ^ Greder, Andy (April 14, 2015). "United FC asks for tax relief on privately financed stadium". St. Paul Pioneer Press. Retrieved April 20, 2015.
  24. ^ "Minnesota United owner meets with governor over tax ememptions". Associated Press. April 14, 2015. Retrieved April 20, 2015.
  25. ^ Golden, Erin (April 15, 2015). "Minneapolis mayor rejects tax break plan for soccer stadium". Minneapolis Star Tribune. Retrieved April 22, 2015.
  26. ^ Codon, Patrick (April 20, 2015). "Senate votes to bar state money for soccer stadium". Minneapolis Star Tribune. Retrieved April 22, 2015.
  27. ^ Gilbert, Curtis (April 30, 2015). "United owner Bill McGuire open to public stadium ownership". Minnesota Public Radio. Retrieved May 6, 2015.
  28. ^ Straus, Brian (July 1, 2015). "MLS's stadium deadline passes, but Minnesota still in play for expansion". Planet Fútbol.
  29. ^ Greder, Andy; Frederick Melo (July 10, 2015). "Soccer in St. Paul: Mayor pushes Snelling site for MLS stadium". Pioneer Press. Retrieved July 14, 2015.
  30. ^ Roper, Eric (September 1, 2015). "Minneapolis soccer stadium land deal ends in silence". Star Tribune. Retrieved September 3, 2015.
  31. ^ Melo, Frederick (September 8, 2015). "Ramsey County approves St. Paul soccer stadium resolution". St. Paul Pioneer Press.
  32. ^ Melo, Frederick (October 23, 2015). "Minnesota United FC announce plan for new St. Paul stadium resolution". Major League Soccer.
  33. ^ "A vision for the future - Minnesota United". Minnesota United FC. Retrieved October 26, 2015.
  34. ^ "Minnesota United hire Populous as architect for new St. Paul stadium". Major League Soccer. November 24, 2015. Retrieved December 5, 2016.
  35. ^ Walsh, James (December 9, 2015). "Minnesota United picks Mortenson to build stadium". Star Tribune. Retrieved December 5, 2016.
  36. ^ Bedakian, Armen. "Minnesota United Reveal Plans for New Soccer-Specific Stadium". The Score. Retrieved February 25, 2016.
  37. ^ "MNUFC & Allianz Field". Minnesota United FC. July 25, 2017. Retrieved March 5, 2018.
  38. ^ McGuire, Mary (July 25, 2017). "Minnesota United's New Stadium Will Be Called Allianz Field". CBS Minnesota. Retrieved March 5, 2018.
  39. ^ Wright, Chris (December 15, 2017). "Allianz Field Announcement" (Video, Live Stream). Minnesota United FC. Retrieved March 5, 2018 – via YouTube. We're going to open in March 2019, with 451 days to go.
  40. ^ "Minnesota United FC Roster". mnunitedfc.com. Retrieved February 21, 2017.
  41. ^ a b c "Front Office Staff". Minnesota United FC. Retrieved May 18, 2015.
  42. ^ "Technical Staff". Minnesota United FC. Retrieved May 18, 2015.
  43. ^ a b c d "Minnesota United Names Head Coach". Minnesota United FC. Retrieved November 28, 2016.
  44. ^ "Pascarella accepts MLS coaching role". Des Moines Menace. Retrieved February 9, 2018.
  45. ^ "Tim Carter • Academy Director". Minnesota United FC. Retrieved August 16, 2018.
  46. ^ "Minnesota United FC Player Stats". Major League Soccer. Retrieved September 25, 2018.
  47. ^ "Minnesota United FC Player Stats". Major League Soccer. Retrieved September 25, 2018.
  48. ^ "FOX Sports North, Minnesota United announce programming agreement" (Press release). Fox Sports Group. February 8, 2018. Retrieved March 11, 2018.
  49. ^ Greder, Andy. "United to hire Callum Williams to be TV play-by-play voice in MLS". Pioneer Press. Retrieved August 17, 2017.
  50. ^ Lucia, Ali. "Minnesotan To Meet: Minnesota United's Kyndra de St. Aubin". CBS Local. Retrieved August 17, 2017.
  51. ^ "Kyndra de St. Aubin: MNUFC Color Commentator". mnufc.com. Retrieved August 17, 2017.
  52. ^ "Allianz Spirit of Giving Event". Minnesota United FC. Retrieved March 19, 2018.
  53. ^ "Press Kit". Minnesota United FC. Retrieved March 19, 2018.
  54. ^ "Target Becomes Official Partner And Kit Sponsor". mnufc.com. January 19, 2017. Retrieved June 15, 2017.

External links[edit]