To get everyone ready for Atlanta United’s match against their expansion partners from last season, we spoke with Eli Hoff of E Pluribus Loonum to get his take on Minnesota’s start to the season, the Darwin Quintero reports, and former AU player Tyrone Mears.
DSS: MNUFC has had an up-and-down start to the season. What’s been the good and bad of their play so far?
EPL: The good parts of play have been the pretty parts, the ugly bits have been bad. The 3-2 loss to San Jose in the opener was mostly terrible except for a couple brilliant moments from Kevin Molino. The ground-out win in Orlando was a great accomplishment. That stadium is not an easy environment. The home opener win over Chicago was just a blast. The Loons looked dominant all the way through and it was fun to have regular soccer back and in person. Last weekend’s defeat to RBNY was expectedly disappointing. The entire back line had to be retooled and had two rookies making their debuts because of international fixtures and injuries. Overall, this team has looked good, or at least better than many expected. Consistency will be the issue this season.
DSS: Does the Darwin Quintero deal look imminent? How does it affect Christian Ramirez?
EPL: We have just confirmed that Darwin Quintero is on the way as I am writing this (FIRST DP BABY!). He arrived on Wednesday night. Reports say that he’ll join the team on Thursday, though it isn’t known whether he’ll be ready to go for Saturday. Christian Ramirez’s spot is probably safe. The current guess is that Quintero will play as a second striker or a number 10. Ramirez’s slow start to the season means that Abu Danladi is more of a threat.
DSS: How’s our old friend Tyrone Mears doing?
EPL: Mears has exceeded nearly everyone’s expectations. There was a lot of grumbling about the acquisitions of him and Harrison Heath early in the offseason, especially when few additional moves came in after. Complaints about his age and positioning haven’t yet come true. In fact, he and other fullback Jerome Thiesson both put in excellent performances in the home opener. Mears is currently battling an injury that left him out of the Red Bulls match, so his status for Saturday has yet to be determined.