Minnesota United goalkeeper Tyler Miller paused Tuesday, June 8, before determining what he wanted to share about starting the season as the backup to Dayne St. Clair.
“Obviously … I was frustrated in that moment,” Miller said. “I wanted to play and I felt like I was playing at a high level (in preseason). I knew that if I stayed within myself and kept doing what I know best, that ultimately my opportunity would come to play.”
After the Loons’ 0-4 start, manager Adrian Heath switched goalkeepers, while Heath emphasized that St. Clair’s performances weren’t why the team had started off so poorly. But Miller has held down the spot since, allowing only one goal as Minnesota has bounced back to go 2-0-1 in its past three games.
Miller, who returned from double hip surgery last summer to be ready for the start of preseason, said he and St. Clair have been “professional” about how they deal with direct competition for one spot.
“We come out here and we push each other, and I think that is the most important thing,” Miller said. “You can see how quickly things can change in this game. It can go from bad to great, and it can go from great to even worse. I think it’s important to keep a level mindset.”
Having two quality goalkeepers is a luxury inside MLS, and that surplus might change before the end of this season. With the club exploring a long-term deal with the 24-year-old St. Clair, Miller, 28, could be dealt during the July 7-Aug. 5 secondary transfer window.
“I don’t focus on the long term; all I focus on is the next opportunity to train and the next game. I really don’t think about it,” Miller said. “I know that ultimately if I continue to play as well as I can play that there will be opportunities that arise — whether it’s here or elsewhere.”
Loons’ third-string goalkeeper Adrian Zendejas has returned from a confidence-boosting loan spell with El Paso Locomotive this week. He had three shutouts in the USL Championship and might go back on loan later this season depending on what transpires with Miller and St. Clair.
St. Clair debuted for Canada’s men’s national team in a 7-0 win over Aruba in a World Cup qualifier Saturday, and United is waiting to hear if he will be with the Canadians for the Gold Cup in July. Their group-stage games are set for July 11-18, and the Loons play the 7th and 18th.
New women's team
A new Minnesota-based women’s soccer team will join the upstart United Soccer League W League in May 2022, organizers announced Tuesday. The team will be independent, community-owned and part of the “pre-professional” league for which players aren’t paid. Organizers will host an open-to-public launch event at 3 p.m. Sunday at Elizabeth Lyle Robbie Stadium on the University of Minnesota campus in Falcon Heights. More details about the team will be shared at the event.
Key United players Emanuel Reynoso, Ozzie Alonso, Ethan Finlay continued their rehab work from leg injuries on Tuesday.
“We are going to build them up to the end of this week and then they might need a bit of work, but they are moving well enough as you can see,” Heath said. “… I’m hopeful that when we get around to Dallas (on June 19) we might have a clean bill of health.”
Wil Trapp hurt his left foot Tuesday when he was kicked in the ankle during a drill. “I don’t think it’s anything too serious,” Heath said.
The Loons have welcomed a few collegiate players to train with the club this week. After limitations during the pandemic last year, it’s a renewed opportunity to get an additional, closer look at players available in upcoming draft classes. … United also has invited Jonathan Jimenez to participate in sessions this week. The 23-year-old defender/midfielder was a first-round pick by the Chicago Fire in the 2020 draft but he was unsigned and played for the Rio Grande Valley in the USL Championship last year. He was a member of the Portland Timbers’ Under-23 team and went to college at Pacific and Seton Hall. … Forward Juan Agudelo continues to work his way back from injury. He hasn’t played since May 8 at Colorado.