Loons believe Dayne St. Clair is an All-Star Game candidate
If the goalkeeper isn’t voted in, he can be added by United manager Adrian Heath
ST. PAUL — “No!” screamed Dayne St. Clair after Minnesota United teammate Robin Lod scored a goal against him during Thursday’s training session in Blaine. The Loons goalkeeper added an expletive to express his spiking frustration.
It doesn’t matter whether it’s a practice, an MLS match, a game of dominoes or in Settlers of Catan, St. Clair can’t stand losing.
“I think this word gets thrown around too much,” Loons defender Brent Kallman said, “but he’s the prime example of it: He’s an absolute gamer. You play cards with him, dominoes, anything like that. He’s very good at everything.”
And, Kallman added, “He’s not exactly a quiet winner.”
St. Clair had something to say to that, too.
“To be fair, he’ll tell you — I talk before I win,” the goalie said. “I’m a consistent (trash) talker.”
The Loons are hoping their 25-year-old goalie can win a spot in the starting lineup for the MLS All-Star Game at Allianz Field on Aug. 10. St. Clair’s form will be key to earning the nod, and MNUFC’s regular season marches on with a road match at Inter Miami coming at 7 p.m. Saturday.
Fan voting for 12 spots opened Tuesday and closes July 1. If St. Clair isn’t in that group, Loons manager and MLS All-Star head coach Adrian Heath appears poised to include him in his 12 selections. Commissioner Don Garber has two additional picks to round out the 26-player roster for the showcase against All-Stars from Mexico’s Liga MX.
“Fans have a large part part of voting for that,” St. Clair said Thursday. “Hopefully, I’m getting those votes, because, I think, sometimes it’s tough. Some of the bigger teams have a lot more fans. Some guys get it where maybe someone else’s (play) is a little bit more deserved. I’m not saying that’s a situation for myself.”
New York City’s Sean Johnson leads MLS with eight clean sheets, and Philadelphia standout Andre Blake is part of a pack with six. St. Clair has three shutouts but is only three decimal points behind Johnson and Toronto’s Alex Bono in expected goals minus goals allowed league-wide.
Heath said St. Clair — a member of Canada’s World Cup-bound national team — “certainly be in” the group of top three ‘keepers in MLS this season. “Maybe we’d be biased because we see him every day and we know what he can do,” he acknowledged.
St. Clair is coming off his worst game of the season, a 2-1 loss to New England on Sunday. St. Clair said he made a mistake to let Dylan Borrero’s slow, deflected shot go underneath him. Then Revolution star Gustavo Bou struck a sensational long-range free kick for the winning goal.
“It touched my hand, hits off the post,” St. Clair said of Bou’s strike. “I think maybe if I’m a yard higher … it’s a save. It’s one of those ones: It’s either a great save or a great goal. … Maybe it’s a little bit harsh on myself to say that I can save that, but I think that’s a standard I want to hold on myself.”
Heath said he will go over his process for selecting those 12 All-Stars during the Loons’ upcoming road trip. He identified in-house candidates Lod, who has a team-high six goals, center back Bakaye Dibassy and central attacking midfielder Emanuel Reynoso.
Minnesota United is 1-5-1 in its past seven games with only five goals scored. Heath said the Loons aim is to get four points (a win and draw) in its two-game road trip to Inter Miami and L.A. Galaxy on Wednesday. … Minnesota and Miami will face each other for the first time. They have identical 5-7-3 records this season…. MNUFC’s first team and staff will travel directly from Florida to California between the matches. … Forward Abu Danladi (thigh) returned to Loons’ training this week. The first pick in the 2017 MLS SuperDraft has one goal this season. Jeremy Ebobisse, the fourth pick in that draft, is tied for the league lead with nine goals.
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