Just over a week and a half ago, Minnesota United’s 2021 season came to a close by the hands of a 3-1 away loss to the Portland Timbers. This set Minnesota’s off-season calendar into full swing and we have a good slate of news from the past week and a half.
Last Monday, just one day following the Loons loss to Portland, Major League Soccer announced the season and home openers for every team in the league. Minnesota will open their 2022 campaign up on Saturday, February 26th with an away match in Chester, PA against Philadelphia Union. The following weekend, the Loons have their home opener as they host Nashville SC on Saturday, March 5 at 5 PM. In week three the Loons will travel to Harrison, NJ to face New York Red Bulls in their home opener with the match scheduled for Sunday, March 13 at 1:00 PM CT.
Just days later another major announcement came from both the club and the United States Soccer Federation, with it being officially announced that the US Men’s National Team will host a match at Allianz Field in 2022. The World Cup Qualifier will see the USMNT face Honduras on Wednesday, February 2, 2022 in the American’s 11th match in the Ocatagonal stage of the CONCACAF WCQ. This does bring into question player safety as the average temperature in St. Paul ranges from 12.9 °F to 28.7 °F (-10.6 °C to -1.8 °C) and the record low of -33 °F (-36 °C).
Minnesota United is also facing some free agent challenges as of recent. Andy Greder of the Pioneer Press has reported that the Loons have offered a contract to Duluth native Ethan Finlay. However, it is expected that Finlay will be going into the free agent market and not re-signing with MNUFC.
Also reported by Greder is that Minnesota has been trying to sign 21 year old Brazilian striker Rafael Navarro, who currently plays for Botafogo in the Brasileirão. Those negotiations have been “very difficult” with all signs being pointed towards the deal not being able to be completed.
This morning, Minnesota announced a contract extension with Goalkeeper Dayne St. Clair. The 24 year old Canadian’s new contract begins in 2022 and is for three seasons with a club option. This will keep DSC under contract in Minnesota until 2024 or 25 depending on if the option is picked up. With St. Clair being re-signed this will also reignite the starting GK debate between himself and Tyler Miller.