Big Hopes, Disappointment and a Flightless Bird

Picture it: You’re a parent who just sent your beloved, academic all-star child to a top American university. You regret they have to leave you, but at the same time love the idea of sharing them with the world for everyone to see.

Now imagine your child gets an F on their first test in every class in the first semester. You still support them, but you are extremely disappointed.

This is the current conundrum faced by loyal fans of Minnesota United FC, also known as the Loons. The fans hit hardest are those who followed the now Major League Soccer soccer club from its infant days in the North American Soccer League all the way up to the big show.

In the club’s first two games, it allowed 11 goals and only scored two, one of which came from a lucky penalty kick.

MNUFC can claim one thing no other Minnesotan professional men’s’ sports club can: it hosts the record for the coldest home opener, coldest league home debut and coldest league game ever.

When fans began to gather before the 4 p.m. kickoff game March 12, light flurries were flickering in their faces. By the end of the game, anyone who hadn’t left the outdoors for shelter under the upper bowl or out of embarrassment for the score was covered in what MNUFC said is 3.4 inches of snow. Crew members had to occasionally interrupt the game to use leaf blowers to clean off the goalkeeper’s box, the outer lines of the pitch and the center line.

Loons fans — like most soccer fans — go hard, though. A total of 35,043 people gathered in 19 degree Fahrenheit weather to watch their team take on an opponent in the big leagues for the first time. This was enough to fill the lower bowl at the University of Minnesota’s TCF Bank Stadium, along with some overflow seating in the upper bowl.

MNUFC currently has zero wins, one draw and two losses. The club’s next home game is April 1 against Real Salt Lake.

Though the Loons have a poor record, there are 36 regular season games in MLS. The team has time to soar back and show who is the true King of the North.

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