Minnesota United defender Romain Metanire is headed to Orlando to play with some of the world’s best.
Metanire, 29, was selected to the Major League Soccer All-Star team by Orlando City coach James O’Connor, who is also the coach of the all-star team. The Madagascar international joins a 26-man roster that includes the likes of LA Galaxy’s Zlatan Ibrahimovi and D.C. United’s Wayne Rooney.
The exhibition game is set for 7 p.m. July 31 at Exploria Stadium, with the MLS all-stars facing Atlético de Madrid, 10-time La Liga champions.
Metanire leads the Loons with six assists in 14 appearances. He has been named four times to the MLS Team of the Week this season. Most recently Metanire has been away from the team on international duty with Madagascar.
“I think everybody’s delighted for him,” Loons coach Adrian Heath said of Metanire. “At the end of the day, he’s deserved it with his performances.”
It’s the second consecutive year a Loon was selected for the All-Star game. In 2018, forward Darwin Quintero and defender Francisco Calvo represented United.
Friendly in Madison
While the starters aren’t expected to play, Minnesota United is traveling to Madison, Wis., for a friendly Tuesday against its USL affiliate Forward Madison.
The friendly is a chance for Loons players who don’t get much playing time to get in a full 90 minutes of game action.
That includes players such as Mason Toye, who scored his first professional goal in United’s U.S. Open Cup match against Houston. It also happened to be the game-winner in a 3-2 comeback victory.
The primary goal come Tuesday is to build off positive moments like those, Heath said.
“I kind of know what I have to do,” Toye said. “Every time I play it’s an opportunity to show Adrian and show the coaching staff that I can help the team win and that I deserve to play.”
The Loons return to MLS play at 3 p.m. Saturday at Allianz Field against expansion side FC Cincinnati.