Image: Minnesota United
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After an eventful and exciting Wednesday press conference introducing new young MNUFC attacker Sang Bin Jeong, it’s now time to turn full attention to the Loons’ upcoming home match vs. Vancouver.
It’s a match that Sang Bin most likely won’t be available for, but the team could really use him.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know MNUFC will come into this matchup with the ‘Caps down seven players due to international duty. All seven of these MNUFC players have made starts for the club already this season.
This kind of situation presents obvious, and understandable, questions about why Major League Soccer continues to schedule league matches during these international windows — especially when most other leagues opt to take breaks altogether or, at the very least, reschedule matches when a certain number of players will be absent.
“I think as the league grows, and the quality of player that we’re bringing in starts to get better, and with the money that we’re spending now, maybe we have to look at what everybody else in the world does,” said Minnesota gaffer Adrian Heath.
But, alas, this is the situation the Loons are presented with. Their opponents are only missing three pieces, one of which is already injured, so the personnel advantage seems to be with the visitors.
While it’s easy to look at this as a disadvantage for Minnesota, let’s try to flip it. Missing so many starters means we will get to see a handful of Loons get an opportunity to prove themselves that they may not have received otherwise.
“There is no excuse whatsoever…that’s why you have a squad of 28,” said Heath. “At some stage you’re going to be called upon. I look at Cameron Dunbar, who’s had a great preseason, worked really, really hard. This is a big opportunity for him.”
Aside from Dunbar, other players with potential amplified roles could be attacker Tani Oluwaseyi, defender Brent Kallman, and likely starting goalkeeper Clint Irwin.
With all the positives and negatives laid out, Heath understands Saturday evening is already a disappointing one for many fans, who paid money for tickets but won’t get to see some of their favorite players take the pitch.
“Obviously, when people pay the money, you want to put the best product on the field that you can,” said Heath. This weekend, unfortunately that’s not going to be the case.”
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The Loons Daily newsletter is written by Jeremy Rushing and presented by Sota Soccer, your home for soccer coverage in the North! If you could, please consider supporting our work at Patreon.com/sotasoccer