Loons’ home opener won’t have record cold, but snow forecast
Minnesota United’s home opener will be cold, but not so cold.
The Loons’ first game of 2022 at Allianz Field won’t be as frigid as the 3 degrees as the USA Men’s National Team World Cup Qualifiers kick off against Honduras in St. Paul February 2. The current forecast for the MNUFC kickoff at 5 p.m. Saturday calls for 33 degrees and a “look-alike” temperature of 23, according to Weather Underground.
“I’m very relieved,” Loons centre-back Michael Boxall, from New Zealand, said last week. “It won’t be tropical, but I’m glad it’s at least double digits.”
Overnight Monday, the forecast rose from two inches of snow to more than seven inches, according to Weather Underground. The National Weather Service’s seven-day forecast says there’s an 80 percent chance of “rain, snow and sleet, possibly mixed with freezing rain.”
If Saturday’s forecast holds, the Loons’ game against Nashville SC will not be among the five coldest games in MLS history. It’s been a familiar place for Minnesota.
It was 19 degrees when the Loons played their first MLS home game at the then-named TCF Bank Stadium on March 12, 2017. It broke the MLS record for coldest game, which had been set at 20 degrees for the 2013 MLS Cup between Sporting Kansas. City and Real Salt Lake.
That first MLS home game in Minnesota was dubbed the “snowpener” for the inches of white stuff that accumulated on the turf of the pitch and required the use of an orange ball for the 5-1 win. ‘Atlanta United between the cousins of the 2017 expansion.
Boxall joined the Loons in July 2017, so he didn’t have to play through the ‘snowpener’, but he’s certainly heard of it. “I feel for the guys who had to play 15 degree Atlanta a few years ago,” he said, citing a number that has dwindled in folk memories over the years. “I’m glad we’re not playing in that kind of weather this year.”
On March 31, 2018, Boxall played in the cold in Minnesota’s home game against Atlanta at TCF Bank Stadium. That also recorded at 19 degrees, according to MLS records.
But in March 2019, both Minnesota starters for the record game were beaten. It was 18 degrees when the Colorado Rapids hosted the Portland Timbers in Commerce City, Colorado; this remains the current brand.
When the Loons opened Allianz Field on April 13, 2019, St. Paul received a heavy snowstorm days before the game, but the timing gave the club’s field crew time to clear the snow in time for the kickoff of the 3-3 draw with New York. FC City. They might not be so lucky this weekend.
The Loons opened all six MLS seasons on the road, including a 1-1 draw against the Philadelphia Union on Saturday, but this Saturday’s game will be their first home opener. Indeed, the league has brought forward its start to the season to accommodate the shift of the FIFA World Cup from mid-summer to late fall in Qatar.
MNUFC typically leaves its training grounds at the National Sports Center in Blaine — where they currently train on grass inside a dome — to attend at least one grass session in St. Paul before their matchup. home opening. But as of Sunday, the team had no plans to do that this week due to last week’s snowstorm in the Twin Cities.
“It’s going to be cold for us and cold for them,” manager Adrian Heath said. “We have to continue like the United States and Honduras have done. There’s no point in making excuses. We know it’s coming.
THE COLDEST MLS MATCHES
18 degrees – Portland, Colorado, March 2, 2019
19 – Atlanta to Loons, March 12, 2017
19 – Atlanta at Loons, March 31, 2018
20 – Salt Lake to Kansas City, December 7, 2013
25 — Portland to Toronto, March 26, 2011
25 – New England to Toronto, March 17, 2019