United picks up win and a tie in two games against Bridges FC
Minnesota United FC picked up its first win of the preseason Friday morning after playing two 70-minute friendly matches with Chicago amateur side Bridges FC. The two-game format gave Minnesota head coach Manny Lagos an opportunity to get plenty of minutes for signed players and trialists alike at the Augsburg College dome. The first game finished in a scoreless tie before United posted a 3-0 victory in the second game.
“I thought there was good moments and some tough moments. This is a team of good young kids who want to be pros, so they’re all working hard,” Lagos said after the first game. “It’s a small field with a lot of battles in the middle of the field, so we need to start thinking about the soccer side of the game and how we move the ball and create chances.”
Bridges FC created congestion in the center of the field in the first half of the first game, limiting chances for both clubs as possession pinballed in the middle third. Etienne Barbara forced a kick save from the Bridges goalkeeper midway through the first half as Minnesota finally carved out a shot on goal. Goalkeeper Daryl Sattler was called upon to stop a breakaway late in the half before Pablo Campos had a goal disallowed for offside at the other end seconds later. In the second half, Lagos and assistant Carl Craig added bodies in the center of the park in an effort to provide more options for maintaining possession. The adjustment worked well, as Minnesota had the better of both the ball and the chances but could come no closer than Kentaro Takada’s header off the crossbar shortly after the restart.
It took just 15 minutes to unlock Bridges’ defense in the second match as trialist Luis Heitor-Piffer rose to meet Michael Reed’s corner kick with a powerful header at the back post. Heitor-Piffer turned provider five minutes later, getting behind his marker on Kevin Friedland’s quick restart and squaring the ball across the face of goal for trialist Anthony Salciccia to finish from close range at the back post. Travis Wall added a third with a headed goal in the second half from Kevin Venegas’ cross as United walked out 3-0 winners, though near misses in the late stages from Wall and Heitor-Piffer could have stretched the final margin.
Minnesota has the weekend off before returning to training Monday morning. The club’s 10 a.m. training sessions on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday at the National Sports Center in Blaine, Minn. are open to the public. The team travels to Omaha, Neb., Thursday for two game trip, including a Friday night friendly against 2011 and 2012 NCAA College Cup semifinalist Creighton University.