Three years into their Major League Soccer existence, Minnesota United are finally getting a taste of international action.
The Loons, who joined MLS in 2017 as an expansion club, are set to make history at 2020 Leagues Cup in July, when they’ll face an as-of-yet announced Mexican team in their first-ever official international tournament.
From top brass down to players, it’s an exciting new chapter for the franchise.
“To think we’re competing in an international tournament after three seasons in says a lot about where we are at and our vision for the club globally," CEO Chris Wright said in February when dates where announced for this summer’s event.
There’s also the added bonus of seeing where Minnesota stand against powerful Liga MX clubs.
“Whether we want to admit it or not, Liga MX is probably our biggest competitor. I’ve been watching it for years now," veteran winger Ethan Finlay said.
“The pace is great, the quality of players is extremely high."
Last season’s success in the US Open Cup, where they reached the final before falling to eventual champions Atlanta United, is proof that the Loons have the ability to take on multiple competitions at once.
“We showed that we can play these mid-season tournaments, obviously with the US Open Cup run we had last year,” the 29-year-old added.
“I think this squad has more depth maybe than last year.”
So far, at least, Finlay is spot-on: Minnesota are off to a flying start in the 2020 MLS season, notching 3-1 and 5-2 away wins at Portland and San Jose, respectively. Recent addition Luis Amarilla of Paraguay has made an instant impact, scoring in both games.
Another key player, Ozzie Alonso, hopes the team can continue this impressive form against Liga MX opposition.
“We want to measure ourselves and see where we’re at the Concacaf level,” the midfield enforcer said.
But, for Alonso, it’s all about winning silverware at the end of the day.
“A trophy is a trophy.”