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Much to the umbrage of the fans,
Minnesota United FC found itself with a draw last weekend.
Sharing the spoils of a hard-fought
game usually isn't such a bad thing, but if Minnesota's league
standings the past three seasons is anything to go by, it wasn't good
The match was entertaining; United had
a handful of chances that very well could have - and maybe should
have - been goals.
Nestled near the goal I saw chance
after chance come and go as United, quite honestly, cut the Tampa Bay
Rowdies' defense to shreds. Striker Pablo Campos played a large part
in this. It was quite the change from a man once described during the
fall season's opener as lazy, seemingly content to saunter around the
field in his much "too tight shorts." This scathing review came
from the sister of Robert Desimone, United's director of community
programming, by the way.
Campos seemed inclined to prove a point
(shorts size be damned), working hard to get in behind the defense -
even if his touch proved too heavy on many occasions. He also dropped
to the ground much like the snow does in a Minnesota winter: often.
As a team that loves to take to social media and video to bemoan
diving antics in the league, maybe they shouldn't.
Cheating aside, he managed a goal from
a squared ball from Max Griffin inside the six-yard box, looking good
on occasion throughout the match.
It's more than anyone can say about
former United striker Etienne Barbara, who now plies his trade for
the Rowdies. For those who may not know, Barbara and Campos both
earned Most Valuable Player awards in the North American Soccer
League (NASL) in previous seasons. When the new owner came in they
made a point to splash some cash for the offensive pair. Club
president, former lawyer, and FIFA 13 video game player Nick Rogers
paraded them both around local events - including many a basketball
It was an odd move. Being NASL MVP
doesn't garner much fame; parading them around likely raised
questions of, "Who now?" from bystanders unfamiliar with the
team. In short: Barbara didn't do much for the team. He didn't set
the scoreboard on fire, and he dives more than Campos (most famously
when he pretended to be fouled when tripping over the ball during the
dome opener of this year's spring season).
If anything can be taken away from the
heart-wrenching feeling of losing out on three points because of a
stoppage-time goal, it's the fact that United seems to be getting
better each week.
To be honest, United should have won.
To be fair, that's sports. Wastefulness in front of goal tends to
result in these types of bitter results. Anything short of a win
today against the Carolina RailHawks will put a damper on United's
hope of making it to a third successive championship final.
More important than the scoreboard,
however, is the sustainability of the team. Regardless of the
season's end result, the club's prolificacy in the stands seems to
only grow each game. Money will do that - even if those in charge
of the club seem to have a minute understanding of the sport and
culture, and tend to marginalize the club's communications to serve a