Romain Metanire selected to MLS All-Star Game

Minnesota United is in the thick of its 2019 season and on Monday, announced one of their top defenders will represent them in the MLS All-Star Game.

Romain Metanire is having a standout season for the Loons. He’s the team leader in assists with six, and late next month, he’ll represent the Loons as an All-Star. His six assists are in 14 appearances, and he’s currently on a three-game point streak as the Loons have won their last two matches.

“I think everybody’s delighted for him because at the end of the day, he’s deserved it with his performances. Not only is he a top player, he’s a top guy as well so everybody will be delighted for him,” Loons coach Adrian Heath said.

Metanire scored his only goal of the season on May 25 in a 1-0 win over Houston Dynamo. In his last three starts, he’s got a goal and two assists as Minnesota United is 2-1 over that stretch. He was on the bench and did not play in the June 8 loss at Colorado, and a 3-0 loss at Atlanta FC.

Metanire and the other MLS All-Stars will face Atletico de Madrid, 10-time champions of La Liga, in the All-Star Game on July 31 in Orlando, Fla.

The Loons are in a slight lull in their schedule after coming out of a grueling stretch of four matches in 15 days with a 1-3 mark. They held a light workout Monday ahead of heading to Madison, Wis., Tuesday night for a friendly at Forward Madison.

Minnesota United has found its groove after scoring just six goals in 10 matches between April 24 and June 8. The Loons’ had a 3-5-2 record over that stretch.

Minnesota United bounced back with a combined seven goals in two wins in the Gold Cup to advance to the quarterfinal round. The Loons snapped a three-match losing skid back on June 12 with a 4-1 win at Sporting Kansas City. Darwin Quintero had a breakout offensive game with two goals and an assist, which came on an Angelo Rodriguez goal in the second minute to give Minnesota the early lead.

With the match tied 1-1, Ethan Finlay scored on a pass threaded from Hassani Dotson to give the Loons a 2-1 lead. Then Quintero took over with a pair of goals 12 minutes apart. Both goals came on assists from Rodriguez.

The win sent the Loons to the Open Cup round of 16.

Six days later, the Loons had to climb out of an early 2-0 hole and scored three goals 23 minutes apart for a 3-2 win at Houston Dynamo. Quintero scored the first two goals, and Mason Toye’s first goal of the season came in timely fashion, in the 89th minute. Ethan Finlay beat his defender down the right side and into the penalty area, and Toye was in the perfect spot in the box for the finish.

“Being in the middle of the goal, that’s something that Adrian has been harping on since I’ve gotten here is finishing in the middle of the goal and being there for the cross across the box,” Toye said. “I was there and I was able to put it away.”

It was Toye’s first goal with the Loons, and it sent Minnesota United to the quarterfinals of the Open Cup.

“I said after the game we were all pleased for him to get his first goal, but the manner and his movement to get the goal was more important for us. That’s the stuff that we’ve been working on,” Heath said. “It was perfect, it was a classic striker’s goal.”

The Loons will face New Mexico United in the quarterfinals of the Open Cup. They beat FC Dallas 2-1 on June 19. That match will be played Wednesday, July 10 at Allianz Field.

Through 16 matches, the Loons are 6-7-3 and maintain the No. 6 spot in the Western Conference at 21 points. They’re two points clear of a playoff spot and have scored 23 goals in 16 matches.

Heath’s main goal in Tuesday’s friendly is to come out healthy. The Loons follow that with seven of their next 11 matches at home.

“We’ve got a really big few weeks coming up for us. Not only obviously the Open Cup game, we’ve got some league games that are going to be crucial to us,” Heath said. “It’s an important period for us.”