Minnesota United players trained for the first time in two weeks on Thursday morning.
For most, it was a harsh return to the realities of the sport after recharging on the beach, lake, or in the mountains.
Forward Christian Ramirez expected the session to be taxing as the Loons prepare to face the Houston Dynamo in the US Open Cup on Monday. “It’s a good progression,” he said.
Missing from the session was captain Francisco Calvo, who is in Russia with the Costa Rican national team for the 2018 World Cup. “He’s not out here cheating for wins,” joked midfielder Collen Warner. “He brings a lot as far as accountability [but] our team has kept a good standard.”
Fullbacks Jerome Thiesson and Marc Burch did not participate in training. Eric Miller was not a part of drills but did get some individual running work on the sidelines.
Ramirez feels ready to go after taking a beach siesta to refresh. “The break did me well,” he said. “[I’m] getting better, progressively.”
He also feels that the entire team will look better in the coming matches. “I think we’re right there...things are looking good.”
Warner hasn’t been getting much in the way of playing time this season, but it hasn’t kept him from being ready. “[It takes] extra work, being mentally focused and with the team,” he explained.
Warner has also played in the club’s two friendlies against local side Minneapolis City SC, which he said helped to maintain match fitness.