Archive for the ‘Minnesota United Soccer’ Category

Minnesota United acquires Pedro Mendes in a trade with Indy Eleven

Thursday, August 14th, 2014

Minneapolis, Minn. (Thursday, August 14th, 2014) — Minnesota United today announced a trade with Indy Eleven. Minnesota will receive forward Pedro Mendes from Indy Eleven in exchange for cash considerations. Mendes is a veteran in the North American Soccer League, scoring 12 goals since 2012.
“The opportunity opened up where we could get another quality player on the roster and add some depth to forward position,” said Minnesota United Head Coach Manny Lagos. “He’s done well in our league over the last couple years. We’re excited to have him for our second half of the season. He works really hard and he’s scored some outstanding goals over the last couple years in the league. I think he’s got a lot of talent and a big upside for years to come.”The 6′0″, 24-year-old Brazilian has risen through the ranks of the U.S. soccer pyramid to make it to the NASL. Mendes spent the early years of his career playing in the amateur ranks, playing for DV8 Defenders of the USASA and Rhode Island Reds of the NPSL. Pedro joined Cal FC, pulling off huge upsets against the Wilmington Hammerheads of USL PRO and Portland Timbers of MLS in the U.S. Open Cup in 2012.

Mendes signed with the Atlanta Silverbacks midway through the 2012 season and remained with the team through the 2013 season. He played against his twin brother, Paulo, in the Soccer Bowl when Atlanta was defeated by the New York Cosmos. Mendes scored 12 goals in 33 appearances for the Silverbacks.

The Brazilian joined Indy Eleven in December 2013 as the fourth player on the roster and the first with NASL experience. He has featured in the starting 11 four times, and subbed in eight times, playing a total of 456 minutes for Indy.

Mendes now joins fellow Brazilians Pablo Campos, Tiago Calvano, Cristiano Dias, Daniel Mendes, and Juliano Vicentini at Minnesota. He will add to the already potent offense United has become famous for, as it looks to secure home-field advantage in The Championship.

“I am very excited, Minnesota is a great team and has a great coach,” said Mendes. “I can’t wait to get to Minnesota and help out the team. I remember the United fans are great, they bring a lot of positive energy and that is a plus. I know the fans are great.”

United also has loaned forward Nate Polak to Oklahoma City Energy FC of the USL PRO. Polak will remain with the team for the remainder of the USL PRO season, which ends in September.

With the signing of Mendes, Minnesota’s current 2014 roster consists of the following 28 players:

Goalkeepers: Andrew Fontein, Mitch Hildebrandt, and Matt VanOekel
Defenders: Tiago Calvano, Justin Davis, Cristiano Dias, Brent Kallman, Brian Kallman, Aaron Pitchkolan, Tyler Polak, and Kevin Venegas

Midfielders: Omar Daley, Floyd Franks, Mozzi Gyorio, Miguel Ibarra, Greg Jordan, Michael Reed, Kentaro Takada, Juliano Vicentini, and Jamie Watson

Forward: Simone Bracalello, Rafael Burgos, Pablo Campos, Daniel Mendes, Pedro Mendes, Nate Polak, Mackenzie Pridham, and Christian Ramirez.

MN United’s Daniel Mendes named NASL Player of the Week

Monday, August 11th, 2014

Minneapolis, Minn. (Monday, August 11th, 2014) — The North American Soccer League (NASL) today announced that Minnesota United FC midfielder Daniel Mendes was named the NASL Player of the Week for his two-goal performance in United’s 3-2 win over FC Edmonton last Saturday at NSC Stadium.
The 33-year-old Mendes has become a key part of Minnesota United’s offense and was rewarded with his first Player of the Week award as he helped United continue its nine-game unbeaten streak in the NASL.”I am very happy for this recognition, it’s a signal that the hard work being done is paying off as much for me as for the team,” said Mendes. “I share this nomination with my teammates, coaches and all staff on the club and appreciate the support of the fans.‚Äč”

Mendes gained the lead for Minnesota early in the second half over FC Edmonton after a low cross from defender Justin Davis found the Brazilian cutting across goal. Mendes tapped the ball home to give United the 2-1 lead. He scored his second of the match in the 59th minute as Minnesota counter-attacked after a goal-line save by keeper Mitch Hildebrandt and defender Tiago Calvano distracted the Edmonton players. United broke out of its zone quickly and a long ball found midfielder Miguel Ibarra near the Eddies’ penalty area. Ibarra laid the ball off for Mendes, who curled a shot around the keeper into the top left corner of the net to secure the victory for United.

“Great honor for Daniel and well deserved,” said Minnesota United Head Coach Manny Lagos. “He has been consistently playing well for a while and his goals are just one example of the outstanding player he is.”

Mendes has scored the second most goals on the team with six, and has one assist on the 2014 season. He has 11 starts in 12 appearances, playing a total of 968 minutes and has picked up three yellow cards.

Born in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Mendes joined Minnesota before the Spring Season on loan from Swedish team Kalmar FF. The Brazilian has spent the past eight years playing in Sweden, scoring 52 goals in 186 appearances. Mendes holds the record for the fastest goal in the Allsvenskan, Sweden’s top professional league, with 6.4 seconds.

This is the second straight week a Minnesota United player has been honored with this award. Christian Ramirez was named Player of the Week for his two-goal performance in United’s 2-1 win over Ottawa at TCF Bank Stadium on August 2nd.

United returns to NASL play on Saturday, August 16th at the National Sports Center as it faces expansion side Indy Eleven.

MN United beats Mexico’s U-21 on penalty kicks

Friday, July 4th, 2014

Blaine, Minn. (Friday, July 4th, 2014) — Minnesota United defeated the Mexico U-21 squad 4-3 on penalties in front of a sellout crowd of 8,059 at National Sports Center Stadium. The game ended 1-1 in regulation, giving the fans the experience of a tense penalty kick shootout that saw United emerge victorious with 4 goals to 3.

“I think the team really appreciated all the fan support tonight and as a club we were thrilled to put on a good show for all the Mexico supporters in the stands,” said United Head Coach Manny Lagos. “It creates a new relationship with a new fanbase here and I hope they can embrace what we are doing as an organization. It was a game of significance because we played against one of the biggest federations in world soccer. It’s a sign of things really good things to come for this team and I think the fans got their money’s worth.”

The game got off to a fast start as a miscue by the Mexican defense allowed United to steal the ball deep in the visitor’s half. Miguel Ibarra was able to pass to a sprinting Christian Ramirez, who expertly slotted the ball past Mexican keeper Alejando Pelaez to give United the 1-0 lead in the 1st minute of the match.

A bad challenge in the 36th minute gave the Mexico U21s a chance to equalize the match from a free kick. Minnesota United defender Tiago Calvano fouled a Mexican midfielder just outside the United box, earning himself a yellow card. Striker Jorge Espericueta stepped up and curled the ball around the United defensive wall, beating keeper Matt VanOekel to level the scores at 1-1.

The beginning of the second half saw several new faces enter the game, including a keeper change by both sides as Mitch Hildebrandt of United and Luis Cardenas of Mexico relieved their teammates.

The second half was dominated by the Mexican team, who put immense pressure on the Minnesota goal. United was getting frustrated with the limited chances and tempers began to rise as the match continued. It came to a boil when Daniel Mendes of Minnesota collided with a Mexican player, leading to a scuffle at midfield between the teams. When the dust settled, and after much deliberation between the referees, three red cards were given out: Floyd Franks and Juliano Vicentini for United and Felipe Sifuentes of Mexico. This left their teams with 9 and 10 men respectively.

At the end of regulation, the game went into a penalty kick shootout. Minnesota defeated the Mexican side 4 goals to 3, thanks to two saves by Hildebrandt.

Minnesota United looks to build off of its Spring Championship as it opens its 2014 North American Soccer League Fall season next Saturday, July 12th against the Fort Lauderdale Strikers. United plays its first home match of the Fall Season on Thursday, July 17th at the National Sports Center Stadium. For tickets and information, please call 763.4SOCCER or visit


Minnesota lineup: GK Matt VanOekel; D Kevin Venegas, Cristiano Dias, Tiago Calvano, Aaron Pitchkolan, Justin Davis; M Juliano Vicentini, Greg Jordan, Jamie Watson, Miguel Ibarra; F Christian Ramirez

Minnesota unused subs: D Brent Kallman, Brian Kallman, M Omar Daley, Mozzi Gyorio; F Simone Bracalello

Mexico U-21 lineup: GK: Alejandro Palaez; D Luis Solorio, Abel Fuentes, M Francisco Flores, Felipe Sifuentes, Rafael Escamilla, Raul Lopez, Jorge Espericueta, Daniel Hernandez, Uvaldo Luna, Alfonso Tamay

Mexico U-21 unused subs: D Carlos Salcedo, Guillermo Madrigal, Jorge Luis Caballero, Marcelo Gracia

Scoring Summary
MNU - Christian Ramirez (Jamie Watson) - 1st
MEX - Jorge Espericueta 37th

Discipline Summary
MEX - Luis Solorio YC 31st
MNU - Tiago Calvano YC 36th
MNU - Floyd Franks RC 75th
MNU - Juliano Vicentini RC 75th
MEX - Felipe Sifuentes RC 75th

MN United FC loses in Kansas City

Thursday, June 19th, 2014

Kansas City, KS (Wednesday, June 18th, 2014) — Minnesota United FC fell 2-0 to the reigning Major League Soccer Champions, Sporting Kansas City at Sporting Park on a hot and humid night in the 4th round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.

Minnesota looked to add to its 2014 Spring Season Championship with a victory over the MLS club, but a controversial red card issued to United defender Cristiano Dias in the 50th minute changed the complexion of the game. Goals from Soony Saad in the 76th minute and substitute Alex Martinez in the 87th minute gave Sporting the win.

“We’re devastated,” said United Coach Manny Lagos. “We consider ourselves to be one of the best clubs in North America regardless of our league and this is a tournament we wanted to play well and do well. I’m very proud of the guys, but we have a standard of trying to do well in these type of games. We had a little bit of a break now where we have to think about how we are going to get better for the second part our season, and have to pick our heads up and compete in our league.”

Minnesota United look bright and confident in the early goings of the match, maintaining possession well and looking composed on the ball against the MLS side. Sporting would have the first great chance of the match in the 7th minute as forward Soony Saad blasted a shot from the left edge of the 18 yard box that smashed off the United crossbar. A chance created out of nothing that would allude to the quick strike danger of the MLS club.

Minnesota would answer with a great chance of its own as defender Kevin Venegas, who saw his first action since May 5th after suffering a fractured mandible in training, dashed down the right flank and showcased a nifty bit of skill splitting two Sporting defenders into the penalty area where he blasted a shot at the near post of the Sporting’s keeper Andy Gruenebaum who reacted well to make the save.

Minnesota’s best chance of the first 45 minutes came just two minutes from halftime as midfielder Daniel Mendes received a cross field pass inside the penalty area which he controlled well and lashed a ball back across the Sporting goal mouth just out of reach of the streaking striker Christian Ramirez at the back post. All it needed was a touch to put the Loons on top before the half.

United entered the locker room at the half feeling confident and capable. Things would change drastically just five minutes into the second half as United defender Cristiano Dias flew in for a fifty-fifty aerial ball, cleanly winning it with a powerful header, but in the process sending a Sporting player to the turf with his momentum. The referee deemed this a serious infraction and issued a red card to Dias, forcing United to finish the game out with ten men.

Sporting would apply continuous pressure as Minnesota struggled to maintain possession and were left constantly in defensive mode. United keeper Mitch Hildebrandt would do his best to keep his side in the game as he made two consecutive spectacular goal saving stops. The first coming in the 64th minute as Sporting forward Dom Dwyer found himself alone on the doorstep only to see his effort saved by the outstretched body of Hildebrandt. Hildebrandt would be called upon just a minute later in the 65th as he thwarted a second golden opportunity from the home side.

North American Soccer League leading goal scorer and assist man, Christian Ramirez, struggled to get touches after his team was forced to play with 10 men, but he did offer a moment of technical brilliance in the 66th minute as he spun beautifully away from pressure on the top of the Sporting penalty area and fired a low line drive that eked just outside the right post.

This would prove to be the final real chance for United as Sporting Kansas City continued to apply relentless pressure. Sporting would eventually break through in the 76th minute as forward Soony Saad received a pass from 30 yards out and laced a low strike into the lower left corner of the goal, beating Hildebrandt.

Sporting would add a brace in the 87th minute as a mad scramble inside the United penalty area led to substitute Alex Martinez scoring his first goal in a Sporting uniform. The match would end in a 2-0 defeat for Minnesota ending its 2014 U.S. Open Cup run.

Minnesota United returns home July 4th to face the the future World Cup stars of the Mexico Under-21 National Team at National Sports Center Stadium in Blaine, MN. The exciting international friendly will be followed by a fireworks display. For tickets and information call 763.4SOCCER or head to


Minnesota lineup: GK Mitch Hildebrandt; D Kevin Venegas, Cristiano Dias, Tiago Calvano, Justin Davis (SUB: Jamie Watson, 84th); M Aaron Pitchkolan, Daniel Mendes (SUB: Floyd Franks, 73rd), Greg Jordan, Juliano Vicentini (SUB: Omar Daley, 80th), Miguel Ibarra; F Christian Ramirez

Minnesota unused subs: GK Matt VanOekel; D Brian Kallman, Tyler Polak; M Michael Reed
Sporting Kansas City lineup: GK Andy Gruenebaum, D Jacob Peterson, Erik Palmer-Brown, Kevin Ellis, Seth Sinovic, M Victor Munoz (SUB: Alex Martinez, 36th), Lawrence Olum, Claudio Bieler (SUB: Sal Zizzo, 62nd), F Antonio Dovale, Dom Dwyer, Soony Saad (SUB: CJ Sapong, 89th).

Sporting Kansas City unused subs: GK Eric Kronberg, Jimmy Medranda, Mikey Lopez

Scoring Summary
SKC - Soony Saad (Lawrence Olum) - 76th
SKC - Alex Martinez (Sal Zizzo) - 87th

Discipline Summary
MNU - Greg Jordan (Yellow Card) 29th
MNU - Cristiano Dias (Red Card) 50th
SKC - Dom Dwyer (Yellow Card) 82nd

Minnesota United Remains on Top With 2-1 Win in Atlanta

Saturday, May 31st, 2014

Atlanta, GA (Saturday, May 31st, 2014) — With the North American Soccer League (NASL) Spring Championship coming down to the final two games, Minnesota United FC earned a 2-1 victory at Silverbacks Park in Atlanta, GA. thanks to goals from midfielder Greg Jordan and the NASL leading scorer Christian Ramirez.

“I thought we absorbed their pressure well and came out in the second half and created some great scoring chances,” said United Head Coach Manny Lagos. “I was really proud about how we handled the adversity of the game on the road.”

Minnesota United and the Atlanta Silverbacks were even at 0-0 after a sloppy first 45 minutes that saw few chances for either team. The pace of the game ebbed and flowed, with the teams trading spells of possession and counter attacks. It was Atlanta who earned the first few good chances of the half, but Mitch Hildebrandt kept the first one out, and the crossbar denied the second.

Late in the half, the Loons got their best chance, as Christian Ramirez won a header on the edge of the six-yard box, but his effort went high.
With the score deadlocked, both teams headed into the locker rooms in search of offensive answers for the second half.

The team talks appeared to have an immediate effect, as United came out at the start of the half with a much more aggressive mindset. With only short breaks, the ball remained in the Atlanta half for the first five minutes after the restart, but Minnesota couldn’t find the net.

Just past the 50th minute mark, Atlanta countered and nearly got on the board after finding a way over the Loons’ defense. But the eventual shot was missed, and the shot taker was offside anyway.

The Loons responded right away, as Christian Ramirez took the ball to the endline and lashed a cross into the box, where midfielder Greg Jordan found space and flicked a header into the left of the goal to stun the home crowd. Although United had pressed for much of the half, Jordan’s flashing header was the first true chance Minnesota had mustered all game.

Suddenly down a goal, Atlanta began to push forward, but United seemed invigorated and filled with belief. Repeated attacks from the Silverbacks were blunted, and a 67th minute substitution of long-awaited new arrival Richard Garcia made it clear that Minnesota Head Coach Lagos was looking for more.
In the 71st minute, the Loons got a golden opportunity off of a free kick from the left side of the field midway in the Atlanta half. Christian Ramirez cut through the pack and rocketed the ball into the net off the header, but the assistant referee flagged him for offside.

Minnesota and Ramirez would find immediate redemption less than a minute later. United earned a nearly identical free kick on the opposite side of the field. This time, the ball went far post, where Ramirez was nearly all alone. He headed the ball straight into the net for his fifth of the season and sixth in all competitions to put the Loons up 2-0. Ramirez now leads the NASL in goals with five and in points with eight, adding three assists to his points total.

At this point, United’s 2-0 lead was complemented by a 0-0 score between New York and Fort Lauderdale, and a 1-1 affair between San Antonio and Indy. If the results held, Minnesota was in line to clinch the Spring title. But things unraveled when the Cosmos scored on a penalty kick. Minutes later, San Antonio went ahead in stoppage time, ensuring that the title race would go on until the final week.
Things got worse for the Loons in the 85th minute, as the ball rebounded out of the box and found Kwadwo Poku of Atlanta at the top of the box. The Atlanta midfielder rifled his shot into the bottom corner, beating Hildebrandt and halving Minnesota’s lead.

The late strike set up a nervy final five plus minutes, but despite plenty of pressure from the Silverbacks, the result held and United walked away 2-1 winners. With the other results in the league, the race for the Spring title will come down to the final weekend, when Minnesota plays the Tampa Bay Rowdies at Al Lang Stadium in Tampa June 7, with kickoff set for 6:30 p.m. CDT. A win or draw will give United the title.

“We are in position to win the Spring Season,” said Lagos. “It’s difficult to play on the road and its going to be a battle next week and we have to be prepared to embrace the challenge. Nothing is guaranteed next week except for us getting better this week and stepping on the field.”


Minnesota lineup: GK Mitch Hildebrandt; D Brian Kallman, Aaron Pitchkolan, Brent Kallman, Justin Davis; M Simone Bracalello (SUB: Richard Garcia, 66th), Miguel Ibarra, Daniel Mendes, Greg Jordan, Juliano Vicentini; F Christian Ramirez (SUB: Floyd Franks, 89th)

Minnesota unused subs: GK Andrew Fontein; D Tyler Polak; M Michael Reed, Jamie Watson, Floyd Franks; Nate Polak

Atlanta Silverbacks lineup: GK Eric Ati; D Ramiro Canovas, Mike Randolph, Ryan Roushandel, Abdul Bangura; M Blair Gavin (SUB: Jesus Gonzalez, 24th) , Junior Burgos (SUB: Alex Harlley, 82nd) Junior Sandoval; F Deon McCaulay (SUB: Bofor Carr, 67th), Jaime Chavez, Kwadwo Poku
Atlanta Silverbacks unused subs: GK Thomas Hunter; D Beto Navarro, Mitch Garcia; M Pablo Cruz

Scoring Summary
MNU - Greg Jordan (Christian Ramirez) - 52nd
MNU - Christian Ramirez (Justin Davis) - 74th
ATL - Kwadwo Poku (Alex Harlley) - 85th

Discipline Summary
MNU - Justin Davis (Yellow Card) - 36th
ATL - Jaime Chavez (Yellow Card) - 54th

Attendance - 5,000