Minnesota Update, 20230602

The Twins win, the Lynx can’t quite get over the hump, and the MNUFC squad shrinks again. That and more, in today’s Minnesota roundup.


Minnesota Update, 20230601

It’s the dawn of a new month, the start of meterological summer, and it’s going to be 90 degrees and humid for the next three months in Minnesota. Why don’t we stay inside and round up the evening in Minnesota sports?


Minnesota Update, 20230531

Getting back into the swing of things here, to use a cliche that sounds like it should be a baseball cliche but isn’t, so let’s round up the Minnesota sports scene for today.


More streaks and droughts for MNUFC

MNUFC forward Robin Lod
Image credit: Daniel Mick

Robin Lod hasn’t scored a goal in a year.

That statement’s not quite true, not yet, but on Wednesday’s Apple TV broadcast of the Minnesota-Houston game, they flashed a stat on the screen, noting that Lod hadn’t scored since May 22, 2022, which immediately prompted a “okay they must have screwed that up, there’s no way Robin Lod hasn’t scored a goal in a year” reaction from me.

So I looked it up, and I’ll be darned, it’s true. Weirdly, it was on the end of a stretch where Lod scored five times in six appearances, even though he was out sick in the middle.

To be fair to him, it was only about a month after that goal that the Loons started regularly deploying him in central midfield, rather than as a forward; by my count, he’s only gone seven or eight starts at forward without scoring a goal. But still, it was astonishing, and so I decided to look up some more droughts and streaks for the Loons.


A whirlwind of Sportive Podcasts

Just a quick note, but after taking a month off (by accident), The Sportive did three podcasts last week. I was on all three, joined in turn by each of the three Sportive guys, talking Wild and Twins and Wolves. I won’t link to them individually but here’s the link to the podcast overall; all I’m asking is that, if you removed us from your podcast subscriptions because you thought we were dead (or if you never subscribed in the first place), please add us back, because we are alive!


MNUFC, we need to talk about Dayne St. Clair

MNUFC goalkeeper Dayne St. Clair
Image credit: Daniel Mick

When Minnesota United goalkeeper Dayne St. Clair was going good - and he was never going better than mid-season last year when he made the MLS All-Star Team - his scouting report was pretty clear.

He’s not a great distributor. He doesn’t really command the penalty area, preferring to stay on his line. He’s not much of a sweeper-keeper, nor is he especially good with the ball at his feet… but man, he sure can stop some shots.

Halfway through last year, that shot-stopping ability was carrying him to one of the best goalkeeper seasons in MLS history. The numbers put him in the upper echelon of MLS keepers, up there with Djordje Petrovic and Andre Blake and other, better-known goalkeeper names. He slid a bit in the second half, but by almost any measure, he was still a top-10 keeper for the season.

Now, the 2023 season is one-third over, and we can no longer lean on “well, it’s a small sample size” as an excuse, and so we’re forced to reckon with what the numbers are telling us for 2023, and we need to ask ourselves an uncomfortable question.

Is Dayne St. Clair currently the worst goalkeeper in MLS?


There should be a pitch clock in soccer

MNUFC goalkeeper Dayne St. Clair, with a clock in the background
Image credit: Daniel Mick

Major League Baseball’s unmitigated success with its new pitch clock is sweeping the nation. Americans have clock fever! The pitch clock, were it a single person, would be the most popular figure in the history of baseball!

This is hyperbole, but not ridiculous hyperbole. Baseball has managed to cut a half-hour or so out of its usual running time, without changing anything major about the game itself, and all simply by putting an actual clock in view, to help umpires enforce the rules about pace of play that were already on the books.

With this in mind, I think it’s time for the next step: there should be a pitch clock in soccer.


MNUFC 1, Orlando City 2: The tactical change that changed the Loons' fate

A picture of Allianz Field in 2022, St. Paul, Minnesota
Image credit: Daniel Mick

Through 55 minutes, Minnesota United’s 2-1 loss against Orlando City looked like it would be another in a series of tight, cagey defensive performances by the Loons.

Orlando had yet to create anything that looked like a scoring chance. The Loons weren’t much more dangerous.

Ten minutes into the second half, though, Minnesota made a change that, finally, unlocked their own offense - but in the process, gave the Lions the space that they needed to steal three points.


The battle between the PGA Tour and LIV Golf is only about money - and shame

A picture of the 10th hole at Augusta National Golf Club
Image credit: Wikimedia Commons

In 1995, John Feinstein published “A Good Walk Spoiled: Days and Nights on the PGA Tour,” an insider’s account of the 1994 PGA Tour season. The central cast of the book includes Zimbabwe’s Nick Price, the world’s top-ranked golfer at the time, and the man who led the money list on the 1994 tour.

The book adopts a head-shaking, almost tongue-clucking tone at the sum that Price earned that season, an otherworldly $1,499,927. It’s cast as almost too much money for a single golfer to make, a sum that would potentially deflate Price’s desire to not only compete, but to ever play golf again. Adjusted for inflation, that’s a little less than $3 million in 2022.

On the 2022 PGA Tour, 26 golfers earned more than $3 million for the season.