Minnesota United wraps up preseason trip to Kansas City
Minnesota United FC wrapped up a preseason training trip to Kansas City this evening, bringing to a close a three day stretch that saw them train several times and play two exhibition matches. Friday night under the lights at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, head coach Manny Lagos used the opportunity to evaluate several trialists against a UMKC Kangaroos side that was more than game for the challenge of facing a professional squad.
Friday’s match was as much a test of endurance as anything for Minnesota, who trained in the morning prior to the fast-paced game on the Roos turf field. Ultimately the fresh legs of UMKC were too much, as second half goals from Jordan Rideout and Guerrero Pino gave the Roos a come-from-behind 2-1 win to punish Minnesota’s lack of sharpness in front of goal. Max Griffin’s second goal of the preseason had given Minnesota a 1-0 lead midway through the first half, but Rideout took advantage of a poor back pass to level the scores before Pino converted a penalty for the gamewinner with 10 minutes to play.
Just as he did against Sporting Kansas City on Wednesday afternoon, Lagos played 22 players for at least 30 minutes each. He took the opportunity to experiment with formations, lineups, trialists and moving established players out of their familiar roles, such as Kevin Venegas lining up in defense and Kentaro Takada moving out wide in the midfield.
“It’s been a good three days—a tough three days—with two-a-days every day on this trip. There’s some positives and obviously the result is a negative, but I thought the guys put in some good effort,” Lagos said.
UMKC head coach Rick Benben credited his side’s resiliency, but conceded that the result was perhaps hard on the visitors, who help the Roos without a chance on goal in the first half and hit the post twice.
“Certainly by possession and chances, Minnesota was the better side, but we got some good play from the goalkeeper and our guys really worked to hang around,” he said.
Minnesota United FC returns to the Twin Cities Saturday for two weeks at home. After a full week of training, the team plays Chicago’s Bridges FC next Friday at Augsburg College, a match that’s free and open to the public. Minnesota follows that with another week of training before playing two games on a quick trip to Omaha, Neb., March 22 and 23.
“We made a tough mistake tonight and couldn’t really recover, but that’s what preseason is all about,” Lagos said. “We’re gaining our fitness and have a foundation to build on, but we also know a little more clearly for next week where we need to work hard to improve.”