Minnesota United looks to improve on inaugural year, start season strong

As construction continues Minnesota United's new stadium in St. Paul, the team is building much the same.

The Loons’ second stint in MLS begins Saturday in San Jose, with the team hoping to build on what was a trying first year.

“There’s nothing quite like the beginning of the season,” United head coach Adrian Heath said. “Everybody is full of optimism. Everybody thinks this is going to be their year, and we’re no different.”

Minnesota United put together a strong finish last season, but won only once in their first seven games of 2017. Their goal is to do better this time around.

“Everybody wants to win,” United forward Abu Danladi said. “Noboby wants to start the season like we did last year.”

The first two months of 2018 will be tough for the Loons, playing seven MLS Cup Playoff teams from 2017 over the course of their first eight games, including San Jose, New York, Chicago, Atlanta, Houston, Portland and Seattle.

“Confidence-wise, we need to get results,” United defender Tyrone Mears said. “Whether that’s winning away from home or tying games, we need to pick up points.”

Some players say that, from the outside, Minnesota's prospects may not look promising--but internally there’s only one expectation for the 2018 season:

“Make the playoffs, of course,” Danladi said. “What’s the goal of playing if you don’t want to make the playoffs or win a trophy?”