Andy Greder / St. Paul Pioneer Press
ST. PAUL — Room service containers had been piling up on Minnesota United’s floor at the Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort in Orlando, Fla., one day this month when a few Loons players thought it would be a good time to play pranks. Jan Gregus, Marlon Hairston and Kevin Molino were in on it, sneaking around to stack them in front of each other’s hotel room doors and make it tough to get in or out. Then they conspired against Romain Metanire’s room.
After a four-month absence, the Loons became the first Minnesota major pro sports team to return to games amid the coronavirus pandemic. Then they treated supporters with late heroics that you can’t find on Netflix. Minnesota United, down four key players, was able to fight back from a first-half deficit to steal a 2-1 win over Sporting Kansas City in a Group D match at the MLS is Back Tournament at ESPN Wide World of Sports complex in Kissimmee, Fla.
Providence Park in Portland, Ore., has been considered one of the toughest places to play in Major League Soccer. Thousands of members in the Timber Army supporters group are directly over the shoulders of opposing goalkeepers for 45 minutes each match. They often chant, “Dod-gy kee-per!” If Tyler Miller had heard that chorus at the end of last season with Los Angeles FC, it would have rattled around inside his head, he told the St. Paul Pioneer Press during a series of interviews. “Am I dodgy?” he would have wondered. “I can’t make a mistake.”
Coney Durr has skin in the game. After a breakout junior year, the Minnesota Golden Gophers cornerback would have every reason to hope there will be college football this fall. But even with a personal stake, Durr just doesn’t see how it can happen amid the COVID-19 pandemic. “How does fall camp even happen?” Durr tweeted Thursday. “110 guys around each other 12 hours a day for a month straight. Man, it’s tough times right now.”
If Big Ten schools play any sports this fall, the schedules will be conference-only as the league navigates the coronavirus pandemic that has officially infected more than three million Americans. The decision, the conference said in a statement announcing the decision, gives the Big Ten greater flexibility to “make quick decisions in real-time based on the most current evolving medical advice and the fluid nature of the pandemic.”
Minnesota United coach Adrian Heath started nine of his first-choice 11 players during a tune-up scrimmage against the Chicago Fire on Wednesday, July 8, in Orlando, Fla. The two absences could be an issue for the Loons when the MLS is Back Tournament starts for them on Sunday. The missing Loons were center back Ike Opara, who did not travel with the club because of a preexisting condition, and defensive midfielder Ozzie Alonso, out with a minor hamstring injury.
ST. PAUL -- The University of Minnesota Gophers football program is optimistic -- amid the coronavirus pandemic -- that it will be able to play Florida Atlantic at TCF Bank Stadium on Sept. 3. If that pans out, it will be an expensive season opener.
MINNEAPOLIS -- The Gophers men’s basketball program has assembled all the puzzle pieces and laid each of them out on the table. You can start to see the elements of a starting lineup and role players. Now, head coach Richard Pitino hopes they can all fit together when next season starts. Minnesota added two non-graduate transfers in 7-foot center Liam Robbins and 6-foot-6 swingman Both Gach, but both will need waivers from the NCAA in the next few months in order to play immediately.
Jacori Hayes’ personal experiences with racism as a black man in America have not received headlines. One encounter with police in Chicago overshadowed a pizza dinner with friends as he had to prove he wasn’t someone cops were allegedly pursuing.
Minnesota United learned Thursday, June 11, the three opponents they will face in the MLS is Back Tournament are Real Salt Lake, Sporting Kansas City and Colorado Rapids. The schedule and broadcast details for the Loons’ Group D, along with the rest of the tournament field, will be announced later.