Saturday was a day of firsts for Minnesota United’s Mason Toye. The rookie out of Indiana University received his first MLS start—which was cut short by his first ever red card. Toye was sent off in the 50th minute after he elbowed the Vancouver Whitecaps’ Kendall Waston in the gut. “I was trying to send a message,” said Toye of his actions. “I was getting held and grabbed a little bit.”
His manager didn’t appreciate his lapse in maturity. “He could’ve cost his teammates and he’ll learn his lesson,” said Adrian Heath. “If two to three people may be fit, maybe he doesn’t play in the next game...it’s silly.”
Though Toye forced his teammates to take and defend their 1-0 lead for more than 40 minutes, they were still supportive of him. Captain Francisco Calvo publicly whispered words of encouragement in the young forwards ear before he faced the media.
Fullback Eric Miller arrived from the Colorado Rapids in a trade earlier this week. His start on Saturday was his first game of the year and he was on the pitch for 81 minutes of the match. “He’ll probably think he’s had a stroke in the morning when he wakes up,” joked Heath.
Miller called the past few days “pretty wild,” but the Minnesotan has been lucky to stay at his parents’ house. He was watched by a group of his friends and family, including his father-in-law, who drove twelve hours through the night to make it to the game.
Minnesota’s defensive shift in the latter part of the game suited Miller. “I’m pretty used to going into the bunker,” he explained, referring to his time with the Rapids that saw a lot of defensive-minded soccer.
Costa Rica manager Oscar Ramirez was in attendance. He was spotted speaking to Calvo after the game.
The Minnesota Windchill, an ultimate frisbee team, played a game on the TCF Bank Stadium field after the game.
The expected suspension of Toye, plus injuries to Abu Danladi and Christian Ramirez, could leave the Loons without a natural striker for their match against Los Angeles Football Club on Wednesday.
After a sellout streak that closed out last season and continued through the home opener, the last three matches have all failed to fill the lower bowl to capacity.