As a proud MN United fan (second only to my Sounders, of course) being able to see a Seattle prospect grow and get steady minutes is an incredible opportunity for me. As most of you may have heard, Sounders Center Back Damion Lowe is playing/training/trialing with Minnesota United in the Simple Invitational in Portland this week for reasons not completely clear at time of writing. Partially inspired by the DeAndre DeBrief series (huge shoutout to Scott Burbidge for keeping up on Yedlin!), I'm going to keep track of Damion's progress with the Loons for the duration of his stay and try to keep y'all updated!
In a match that will likely be a smaller-scale version of the Red Card Wedding to fans of United, the reigning MLS champs thoroughly disassembled MNU 4-0 in their 1st match of the tournament. Referee Ismail Elfath was in the center for the game and gave out two red cards to Minnesota, one, very controversial sending off of Thiago Calvano just before the break for a tackle on Diego Valeri that got all ball, but the ball swept the man off his feet and should've been a yellow, even according the Portland announcers. The other red was to Kevin Venegas for a violent tackle in the box on a Timbers player, I believe it was Asprilla, in the 61st minute, which Valeri promptly slotted home to give Portland their 4th of the night.
Down to 9 men, the Loons made some tactical substitutions and swaps in the 64th minute, bringing on Lowe for Justin Davis. Minnesota used Lowe in a way I've never seen Seattle use him: Right Back. Lowe excelled here, using both his speed, size and tenacity to boss his way up and down the flank for the final half hour of the game. He made several overlapping runs with Vicentini and looked dangerous whenever he had the ball and some space in the final third. Lowe drew three fouls from Portland players, and nearly nabbed an assist when he split Borchers and Valentin with a through ball to Vicentini, who chipped Kwarasey and was about as close to banking it in off the woodwork and in as you can possibly do without touching anything. Aside from that, Lowe looked confident as a full back and played smart, outside of a ballsy tackle on Melano that I don't blame him for trying.
All in all, Carl Craig may have unlocked what Lowe needs to do break into an XI or 18 in an MLS squad: Use his speed to his greatest advantage and play him on the outside of the back for and terrorize defenses making bombing runs forward, like a really tall Yedlin.