MN United

Two Injured Keepers Raise Red Flag Ahead of Minnesota United-Colorado Rapids Clash

As Minnesota United search for answers after a 6-1 thumping at the hands of fellow expansion team Atlanta United, a growing concern about goalkeeper depth is raising the stakes as the team prepare to take their show on the road.

The Loons expected to have their hands full with Atlanta’s fierce counter attack led by the squad’s three big-dollar Designated Players when the visitors came to town. What they didn’t expect was to lose starting goalkeeper John Alvbage to a nasty laceration to the knee around the 84′, forcing backup keeper Bobby Shuttleworth to step up and enter the match.

Alvbage sustained the injury — originally rumored to be a broken leg — after defusing a dangerous looking attack on the left wing that led to both a Minnesota and Atlanta player colliding with the keeper.

After contact, Alvbage dropped to the snow-covered turf immediately, clutching his knee and howling in pain. Teammates quickly waived medical staff onto the pitch, with a stretcher soon to follow. Though he remained conscious, the severity of the injury was not immediately clear.

Alvbage would later be seen walking to the ambulance under his own power, a promising sign after a scary injury in such rough conditions. By the following day, the keeper posted an update on his personal Snapchat account revealing a glimpse of the gash and the news that he would undergo an MRI.

Fans got a more comprehensive update on the injury later on Monday.

The news that United’s starting keeper would be out for 1-3 weeks was bad enough, but it was soon confirmed that third-string keeper Patrick McLain would also be sidelined for the Minnesota vs. Colorado contest on Saturday night.

The Loons are in a tight spot after conceding 11 goals in just two matches. While most of us knew it was going to be a tough season as the club adjusted to competition in MLS, the first two match results are a brutal reality check after an offseason full of roster-building fun. Any signs of life on Saturday will be a welcome gift to a suffering fanbase that has seen its side copulate to post a minus-9 goal differential.

Shuttleworth certainly appears to be a suitable replacement for the veteran Swede as at 29 years old he has already appeared 127 times for the MLS’s New England Revolution.

That said, it won’t be an easy match as Rapids’ goalkeeper and U.S. men’s national team star Tim Howard seems to once again be in top form. Will fielding second-string goalkeeper Shuttleworth prove to be a needed upgrade after Alvbage’s difficult start? Or will throwing yet another new body onto the starting XI make for more headaches than it’s worth? We’ll find out in a few short days.

United kick off against the Rapids at 8 p.m. CT this Saturday, March 18. The full 90′ will be available locally on My29 and also on MLS Live.

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