Minnesota United's typical prematch warmups took on a bit more urgency Saturday.
Not only were the players readying to play an international friendly against Mexican top-division club Atlas FC, but they also had to break the ice with an unfamiliar face.
Despite flying into Minnesota around 7 p.m. Friday and being announced as a new Loon Saturday morning, Brandon Allen found himself suiting up for his new team just 24 hours later in the 1-1 draw at TCF Bank Stadium in front of an announced 17,010 fans.
"Oh yeah, it was really strange," forward Ish Jome said. "I read he got signed, like, a few hours ago and then he walked in, and they were like, 'Oh, he's starting,' and I was like, 'OK.' He had to get used to everyone really quick, so before when we were warming up, he was trying to get used to all of our names."
Allen, a forward, is on loan from the New York Red Bulls for the rest of the season but has mainly played for the Red Bulls' lower-division United Soccer League side. But coach Adrian Heath could already see some promise in Allen's first 72 minutes as a United player.
"You can tell he's big. He's aggressive. He had half a chance in the first half," Heath said. "At this level, it's a step up from where he's been playing so he probably felt it a little bit. He only arrived, doesn't know anybody's name, only arrived late last night. So it was tough for him. But he'll be better for the hour he was on."
Heath used only three regular starters in his initial lineup. Winger Bashkim Kadrii, who hadn't started since April 8 at FC Dallas, scored his first goal for United in the 25th minute, karate-kicking the ball into the net after a goalkeeping error. Atlas equalized in the 40th minute off forward Milton Caraglio's header.
While Saturday was pretty much trial by fire for Allen, he is already starting to find his place.
"I came out. I felt good. But hopefully next game, I can find the back of the net and really contribute to this team," Allen said. "Right from the start, I felt really welcomed and the connections were definitely there. I'm really looking forward to the rest of the year, actually."
• New additions Sam Nicholson, a winger, and Michael Boxall, a defender, were not available to play because their visas and international transfer certificates did not go through in time.
• Midfielder Rasmus Schuller left the match in the 14th minute because of a thigh strain, Heath said. Heath had called this a "big game" for Schuller, who has dealt with multiple injuries and hadn't played since June 17 at Real Salt Lake.