Here is what we know for absolutely sure about MNUFC preseason, what’s been announced by the club and by the league, 51 days before the team opens the season at Philadelphia:
(/faint sound of off-key pipe organ playing on windy day) UPDATE: Andy Greder of the Pioneer Press just published a notebook with actual preseason dates, so apparently writing about preseason this morning was timely. But still!
We can surmise two things. The first is thanks to longtime Minnesota soccer fan Scott Kerssen, who knows everything: Norwegian club Viking FK is apparently coming to America to play in the Portland Timbers’ annual preseason tournament, which will also include Real Salt Lake and Minnesota United FC.
The second was thanks to earlier stories about Emanuel Reynoso’s situation in Argentina; it was reported that he’d asked the Argentinian authorities for permission to travel back to the United States for preseason training, beginning January 13.
I guess I feel like something is missing here? Baseball’s spring training is wildly popular, to the point that if you tell some die-hard Twins fans that you’ve never been to Fort Myers for Twins spring training, they eye you with a mixture of pity and confusion, trying to figure out whether you’re some kind of dilettante impostor or merely just stupid.
NFL training camp is one of the most boring events you can imagine - the most exciting part is watching the punters boom the ball into the sky - and yet thousands of Vikings fans go to Mankato every year.
The NHL and NBA spend less time practicing in front of fans in their pre-seasons, but they hold multiple preseason games every year, and fans pay actual American money to watch them. The same goes for the NFL, come to think of it.
So why not MLS?
Last season, the Loons played four preseason matches. For obvious reasons, none of them had fans in attendance, but there wasn’t even a streaming broadcast. The Timbers’ preseason tournament has been streamed in the past, but MNUFC hasn’t even said definitively that they’re playing in the tournament, so streaming details are nonexistent.
A month and a half before the season, fans have no concrete idea where MNUFC is even holding preseason training or where they might be playing games, and even if they did know, they probably couldn’t attend and maybe couldn’t even watch.
It feels like MLS is missing something here.