Tag Archives: Christian Ramirez

Latest goings on with MNUFC

Bridget McDowell - Minnesota United FC/mlsfemale
Official Minnesota United FC Reporter

By Bridget McDowell // @BCMcDowell

Weekly Update

Saturday, August 4: MN United FC faced the Seattle Sounders for the third time in their short MLS history on a hot and humid night in Minneapolis. This time, the Loons came out on top in a low-scoring and messy, yet effective, match on home turf…

That is how I remember opening my gamer, which was half complete as stoppage time was announced. Unfortunately, my computer froze sometime after the 90-minute mark, then crashed, my words lost forever. But those words were rendered moot anyway when, early in the six minutes of announced added time, Minnesota gave up a penalty in an attempt to score a second goal, allowing Seattle to equalize on the other end of the pitch. Then, in the seventh minute of the added time, with Minnesota fans willing the ref to blow the final whistle, Seattle dealt the fatal blow, ending the match 2-1 in the last gasp.

The only part of my gamer worth salvaging was the first sentence: It was the third meeting, and was indeed a tad warm. I may also have noted that Darwin Quintero scored the beauty that put the Loons up 1-0 in the first half. And I may have mentioned the tifo display which turned the words of Seattle’s own Jimi Hendrix against them.

But the shade MNUFC Supporters threw at Seattle was overshadowed by another dark cloud (no pun intended). The benching of fan-favorite forward, Chris Ramirez, in favor of new DP Angelo Rodriguez, drew immediate criticism on Twitter and bolstered the transfer rumors bandied about during the week prior. No way we trade the face of the team, the soul of the club, half of the Dynamic Duo, our very own Superman!

But we did. On Monday evening, the news broke that Ramirez had been traded to first-year expansion club, LAFC, in exchange for at least $550,000, with potential bonuses, for a total of nearly $1 million. Hearts broke and tempers flared. With #HeathOut exploding, once again, across social media, some fans had a little fun in reaction to the Supporters versus Front Office battle lines. Inspired by the (manufactured) rivalry tees released by MLS, one supporter designed this:

Though Superman’s departure is emotional for many fans, myself included, the trade makes perfect sense for both the club and for Ramirez’s career. Ramirez was one of four forwards, suddenly a position of depth after the addition of Rodriguez. Two of those forwards, Abu Danladi and Mason Toye, are still young and in development, desperate for minutes.

The trade frees up space for United to have a starter be backed up by one developing sub while the other goes on loan. That loanee was announced on Wednesday. Toye will go to USL side Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC, while remaining available for recall to Minnesota if needed.

The trade also gives Minnesota the resources (both TAM and GAM) to make other moves to shore up its roster. Many fingers and toes are being crossed in the hopes of a defensive acquisition.

And, it would be selfish of us to refuse to let Ramirez develop his career. He deserves more playing time and a manager who will help him develop his game rather than squandering his talent. He needs to find his confidence again and to earn the confidence of USMNT staff (he has earned a call-up to camp, but not a roster spot, which he deserves). LAFC checks both boxes. Plus, he returns, with his own young family, to his family home. 

And, so, a new chapter begins. For Ramirez, for MNUFC, for the Supporters. The Loons turn the page Saturday when they face the Galaxy in L.A.

Featured image: Minnesota United FC Facebook

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MNUFC Caught Sleeping In Seattle

Bridget McDowell - Minnesota United FC/mlsfemale
Official Minnesota United FC Reporter

By Bridget McDowell // @BCMcDowell

Sunday, April 22: 3-1 Loss

Every team hits a rough patch at some point in the season and then faces a squad that shows them they can be winners again. For the Portland Timbers last weekend, that team was Minnesota United FC. For the Seattle Sounders this Sunday, that team was MN United FC.

The Loons’ losing streak stretched to four with their trip to Seattle on Sunday afternoon. Despite a gritty second half showing that saw striker Christian “Superman” Ramirez come in to snap a six-month-long goal scoring drought, on an assist from Darwin “The Scientist” Quintero

… The Loons fell to the Sounders 3-1.

Because this happened in the first half:

And then this:

Giving up two goals and losing the game were tough pills for fans to swallow. But it was the fact that it was the fourth-straight loss due to such selfsame errors that was most painful.

 And since the Loons face the Houston Dynamo next rather than another MN United FC, something’s got to give. If Minnesota finds itself posting this halftime message for a fifth time on Saturday night, it will be Minnesota, not Houston, that has a problem.

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fmnunitedfc%2Fposts%2F1761828230540225%3A0&width=500

A problem that cannot be fixed by scoring goals.

Featured image courtesy: @MNUFC

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Water dance of Loons snuff out Chicago Fire in opener

Bridget McDowell - Minnesota United FC/mlsfemale
Official Minnesota United FC Reporter

By Bridget McDowell // @BCMcDowell

Saturday, March 17: 2-1 Win

On Saturday night, Minnesota United FC put on a show for the sold-out black and blue and green clad crowd at TCF Bank Stadium, their temporary home on the campus of the U of M. Many feared a repeat of the 2017 home opener, when the Loons made their MLS debut in white-out conditions and gave up six goals, much too easily, to expansion rival Atlanta United. This home opener could not have been more different.

With speedy left winger Miguel Ibarra playing the central-mid role in place of Molino, flanked by Nicholson on his left and Finlay on his right, and communicating telepathically with withdrawn striker Christian Ramirez, the Loons were constantly pressing forward. Behind them, Schuller and Ibson were picking pockets left and right, choosing carefully their opportunities to send the ball forward. It was frustrating to watch that effort come to nothing the first half, especially with Chicago Fire’s attack, led by Nemanja Nikolic, outshooting Minnesota with five shots to two.

A last-second miscue or dispossession would dissolve the Loons’ momentum time after time. But still. They dominated. The shuffled lineup was cause for celebration by fans who were confused up to this point by Heath’s use of the bench. The midfield, in particular, a problem spot all last season and in the season opener in San Jose, earned the glory.

Without Ibson’s ridiculous footwork and dribbling, without Nicholson’s driving shoulder on the wing, without Ibarra’s speed and distribution, without Ramirez’s selfless hold-up plays, without Finlay’s crossing ability…

Ibson notched the first goal when he (for some bizarre reason) found himself on the receiving end of a Finlay cross in the 55th minute. Chicago keeper Sanchez got a glove on Ibson’s first shot but tipped it back his direction. Ibson made good on the second chance.

Chicago drew level at the 59th minute when the Loons’ defense seemed to lose their marks allowing Elliot Collier to rebound on a Nikolic shot and score in his league debut. The draw lit a fire under Minnesota, who all poured forward. Just seven minutes later, Finlay took off down the right wing and crossed the ball into the box meeting Nicholson, who snuck past a Fire line focused on the right wing. The midfielder pounced and launched a header past Sanchez who barely turned his head as the ball whistled past him.

Both sides had chances over the final minutes, but Minnesota’s defense held true and the squad continued pressing forward, refusing to ‘park the bus’, as they say. Instead, they said maybe.

The entire stadium seemed to hold a collective breath through stoppage time. Finally, the whistle sounded and 23,138 people (less the 200 Section 8 fans who traveled from Chicago) belted out Oasis’ ‘Wonderwall’ with their scarves held high.

Featured image courtesy: Bridget McDowell

Follow and chat with me on Twitter // @BCMcDowell

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