United’s Quintero, Rodriguez put Saturday’s tension behind them
BLAINE, Minn. -- Minnesota United attackers Angelo Rodriguez and Darwin Quintero walked and talked with each other as they exited the training field in Blaine on Monday, June 10.
Teammate Lawrence Olum was in between them, but the Loons midfielder wasn’t needed to keep the peace between the struggling scorers.
The scene was amicable compared to Saturday night when Rodriguez shouted and waved his arms at Quintero late in Minnesota’s 1-0 loss to the Colorado Rapids at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park near Denver.
Rodriguez was upset that Quintero’s long-range free kick didn’t come anywhere close to reaching him — or any other teammate in the box — on a late scoring chance in extra time.
The apparent boiling point percolated as their goal-less droughts mounted. Quintero hasn’t scored in 611 consecutive minutes, while Rodriguez has been shut out in the past 452.
But United coach Adrian Heath dismissed the brouhaha as nothing to be concerned about.
“I don’t expect 28 men to get on every single day, and at some point frustration boils over,” Heath said Monday. “That is part and parcel of what the game is, so I don’t have any problem with that at all.”
Bumps and bruises
A handful of Loons are dealing with injuries heading into Wednesday’s U.S. Open Cup fourth-round match against Sporting Kansas City. Game time is set for 7 p.m. at Allianz Field.
Defensive midfielder Ozzie Alonso played the opening 1,414 MLS minutes this season before being subbed off in the second half Saturday.
“He had a slight problem with his quad, and we didn’t want it to get any further,” Heath said. “He’s going to be really important for us.”
Ike Opara, Miguel Ibarra and Abu Danladi also are dealing with “little issues,” Heath said. This is expected to influence the lineup the Loons use in the national tournament Wednesday.
Minnesota and Kansas City also will be without four players apiece due to national team duties. Sporting will missing its two leading scorers — Johnny Russell with Scotland and Krisztian Nemeth with Hungary. Both players have seven goals this season.
MLS has 103 players from 35 countries playing on national teams this summer. Minnesota’s are defender Romain Metanire (Madagascar) and midfielders Jan Gregus (Slovakia), Rasmus Schuller (Finland) and Kevin Molino (Trinidad and Tobago).
Rookie fullback Chase Gasper waited 10 weeks to make his MLS debut, and after a 24-minute substitute appearance against Colorado on Saturday, his primary review was glowing.
“I thought he was excellent,” Heath said. “If he wasn’t injured, he probably would have been three or four games in now.”
Gasper, the 15th pick in the 2019 SuperDraft, had a setback in his hamstring rehab about three weeks ago. It put a little bit more significance on Saturday’s big moment for him.
“That is what I dreamt about my entire life,” he said. “It was a cool moment when I heard my name called, but it immediately turned into what am I going to do to help my team.”
Backup goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth returned to training after nearly a month out with a knee injury. “What is this? Soccer?” Shuttleworth joked with Loons director of player personnel Amos Magee on Monday. … Approximately 30 season-ticket holders watched Monday’s training session at the National Sports Center.