Minnesota United was back at training Tuesday for the first time since its 1-0 victory over Seattle on Sunday, and the feeling was much different from the previous match week.
It was the Loons' first win over Seattle in its MLS history, and it snapped an MLS-record 13-game unbeaten streak for the Sounders. The win was much-needed after a disappointing draw against San Jose and a loss to Colorado.
After losing 2-0 to the Rapids on July 7 to end a seven-game unbeaten streak, Loons coach Adrian Heath had harsh words for his team. His message was simple: Its performance wasn't good enough. He organized practices on days that the team originally had off, and the extra work appeared to pay off Sunday.
"It did exactly what it was designed to do in terms of waking us back up," midfielder Wil Trapp said of Heath's message. "You go on a run of unbeaten games, and sometimes you get lulled to sleep. … We might think we've come out of it, but we haven't. We have to continue to push forward, and that's what you saw on Sunday."
The Loons now look ahead to a home match against Portland on Saturday. The last time the teams met, Minnesota scored the quickest goal in club history and left Portland with a 1-0 victory on June 26. It was also the match in which Timbers star Diego Chara alleged that Loons forward Franco Fragapane directed a racial slur toward him, although an MLS investigation found no evidence of racist abuse.
"This week is about recovering and getting ready to play against a Portland team that probably feels like they have something to gain on us based on the last game," Trapp said. "It's really getting our bodies back in place, but then realizing that this is a team that's going to come for three points."
Fullback Romain Metanire returned from France on Monday and was back on the training field Tuesday. He missed three matches while waiting for his U.S. green card abroad. Heath said Metanire kept up with training while he was away, with the team sending him training instructions and receiving videos back of his sessions.
"The thing about Romain is you never worry about his fitness," Heath said. "We'll build him up through the week and see where he is for the weekend."
Also back was defender Michael Boxall, who missed the past two matches after leaving the match against San Jose because of an apparent groin/thigh injury. Boxall ran through individual drills with a trainer at Tuesday's practice. Heath said he was hopeful the veteran would return for Saturday's match.