On Wednesday, Minnesota United rookie midfielder Hassani Dotson started a friendly vs. German Bundesliga’s Hertha Berlin and found himself marking Salomon Kalou, whom he watched star for Chelsea in the Premier League when he was growing up near Seattle.
Afterward, United coach Adrian Heath called Dotson’s performance “terrific.” He apparently did well enough, because Dotson made his first MLS start in Saturday’s 1-0 victory over Houston.
Dotson started at right back Wednesday and later moved to left back, which is where he started Saturday.
A center midfielder at heart, he said the only difference between moving from right to left back is “passing with my left foot more. The position, the angle of the body, is just a little different on the left side.”
Dotson, 21, impressed management with his personality, determination, strength and ability to play more than one position during pre-draft preparations. The Loons took him 31st overall in the January SuperDraft out of Oregon State.
“He’s a very powerful kid,” Heath said after training last week. “For his age, really powerful. We like him a lot. The next step is doing it in the first team. It’s all right doing it out here. Now you’ve got the extra responsibility that comes with playing with the first team. He has got to see how he does.”
Molino, Miller out
Dotson started at left back and veteran Miguel Ibarra returned to the midfield attack Saturday because defender Eric Miller (quad) and Kevin Molino (hamstring) both were out. Explosive Houston forward Alberth Elis didn’t play because of a concussion.
United backup goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth (knee) and rookie defender Chase Gasper (hamstring) and Carter Manley (leg) remained out. Gasper neared a return weeks ago that hasn’t yet come.
“It just took a bit longer than we thought,” Heath said. “He’s back fully [training] now. He certainly has put himself in the equation for the next couple weeks moving forward.”
DaMarcus is Da Man
Houston defender DaMarcus Beasley came to Allianz Field for the first and last time. The four-time U.S. World Cup veteran, who has also played in Scotland, Holland, Mexico and Germany, announced Monday he will retire after this season. He turned 37 Friday and started at left back Saturday. It’s his second game this season because of March knee surgery.
“Everybody knows he played in so many World Cups,” United defender Ozzie Alonso said. “He’s 37 and still good. I’m very happy to play against him so many times. He has had a great career.”
He said it
Dotson on defending Kalou for part of Wednesday’s game: “I didn’t realize before the match that I’d be marking him. But I was a big Chelsea fan growing up, so that was cool. During the game, I didn’t think about it. But afterwards, you take a moment to appreciate it.”