We see that you have javascript disabled. Please enable javascript and refresh the page to continue reading local news. If you feel you have received this message in error, please contact the customer support team at 1-833-248-7801.

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Bakaye Dibassy’s injury has sent tremors through multiple Loons seasons

Without him, the Loons are clinging to one of the final playoff spots with two games remaining.

MLS: Minnesota United FC at Nashville SC
Nashville SC midfielder Hany Mukhtar, left, handles the ball against Minnesota United FC defender Bakaye Dibassy in the second half Aug. 14, 2022, in Nashville. Dibassy suffered a season-ending injury against Houston on Aug. 27
Christopher Hanewinckel / USA Today Sports
We are part of The Trust Project.

ST. PAUL -- The seismic injury to Bakaye Dibassy has sent aftershocks through Minnesota United’s present and future.

After the Loons’ top center back suffered a season-ending rupture to a quadriceps tendon against Houston on Aug. 27, this year’s team has struggled to keep its MLS Cup Playoffs position.

The Loons have averaged 1.0 points per game without Dibassy and have a minus-8 goal differential across those seven games, including one missed in March. With Dibassy, MNUFC has averaged 1.52 points per game with a plus-5 goal differential.

With Dibassy, Minnesota was in the driver’s seat to finish in the top four in the Western Conference and host a playoff game at Allianz Field in mid-October. Without him, the Loons are clinging to one of the final playoff spots with two games remaining.

Overall, Minnesota is 13-13-6 this season and picking up 1.4 points per game; the team, currently holding the sixth seed, will return to game action after the international break at San Jose Earthquakes on Oct. 1.

ADVERTISEMENT

And Dibassy’s injury, which could keep him out at the start of the 2023 season as well, has altered how the club will approach center back position on next season’s roster. The three key players, including Michael Boxall and Brent Kallman, are all over 30 years old.

“We had already earmarked it as a position of importance and we were already down the road of scouting numerous young players; that might have to change now,” Heath told the Pioneer Press earlier this month. “We were hoping to bring in, with the Under-22 initiative, somebody that could sit behind Dibassy and Boxy for 12 months and then see where we were.

MLS: Minnesota United FC at Nashville SC
Minnesota United FC defender Bakaye Dibassy reacts after a play Aug. 14 against Nashville SC.
Christopher Hanewinckel / USA Today Sports

“With Dibassy’s situation, we are down to Boxy and Brent, really, and (reinforcements at the position) take on more significance.”

The age of the Loons’ back line was a concern going into the season, and it has come back to bite them. Right back Romain Metanire, 32, was sidelined to begin the year with persistent hamstring injuries, and it forced Dibassy to fill in at fullback.

The curveball was its youngest member, left back Chase Gasper, entering into the league’s substance abuse program and not playing for the club before he was traded to L.A. Galaxy in May.

MORE MINNESOTA LOONS COVERAGE:
Pro
MNUFC went into Saturday’s match in California with an opportunity to clinch a playoff spot with a win and some help. That assistance came with Real Salt Lake’s draw with L.A. Galaxy late Saturday night, but Minnesota didn’t do its part of the equation.
Pro
With Minnesota’s playoff positioning slipping in three straight scoreless losses, a goal and a point will be precious. But they lost points from a winning position at home.
Pro
After a slow start, the Loons ascended to be one of the league’s best through late August, netting 26 out of the next 33 points during that stretch.
Pro
Reynoso, who has a team-high 10 goals, tweaked his right ankle before halftime of last Saturday’s 3-0 loss to FC Dallas.
Pro
Matt Navratil, a 26-year-old from Burnsville, Minnesota, is a diehard Loons fan and a season-ticket holder who travels with his parents, Scott and Chris, to a few road games each season.
Pro
The Loons dealt with a steady stream of pressure, but made the most of their few opportunities to take all three points on the road.
Pro
One of Dayne St. Clair’s first soccer memories is from roughly 20 years ago with him juggling a plastic balloon at his grandmother’s home in the Toronto area. The young Canadian wasn’t yet good enough with his feet to keep a heavier soccer ball aloft; he needed an inflatable orb that would hang in the air a bit longer.
Pro
After signing a 2½-year contract with MNUFC through the 2024 season, with a club option for 2025, the 28-year-old Paraguayan has played in three games — an international friendly versus Everton, plus coming off the bench in two MLS games, wins over Houston and Portland.
Pro
Loons coach Adrian Heath played for Everton in 1980s.
Pro
Reynoso is heating up again, and the Argentine star has propelled the Loons to consecutive wins for the first time since mid-April.

MNUFC traded with Toronto FC for left back Kemar Lawrence, brought in right back Alan Benitez on a free transfer from Paraguay and has seen the benefits of fullback D.J. Taylor coming up from the USL Championship.

They appear in need of a similar changing of the guard at center back, or at least a clearer succession plan. Current backups Callum Montgomery has been out injured to end the season, and Nabi Kibunguchy has only played sparingly in midfield with the first team on top of his center back role with the club’s developmental team, MNUFC2.

With the World Cup coming in November, the Loons’ staff has been out scouting before many prominent leagues close their doors in late October or early November.

ADVERTISEMENT

“We are looking at decisions for the end of the year,” Loons technical director Mark Watson told the Pioneer Press earlier this month. “What positions are available and then moving forward with our scouting process. That process is fully on, so it’s going to be a busy couple of months. Some of the second divisions or countries that aren’t in the World Cup, they will continue their leagues, but for the most part things end, so it will be an expedited scouting window this year.”

Briefly

MNUFC announced Thursday the inaugural St. Paul Cup, a doubleheader for pairs of boys and girls varsity teams from within the city to play at Allianz Field. Harding and Washington Technology Magnet will play at the MLS stadium on Oct. 7. Loons homegrown players Fred Emmings and Devin Padelford surprised the high school teams with the news this week. Different schools will be picked in future years based on input from an advisory board of representatives from the Saint Paul Mayor’s Office, Saint Paul Public High Schools and MNUFC. … The Loons unveiled Tuesday a new mini-pitch for the Community School of Excellence, a Hmong Language and Culture School, on Larpenteur Avenue. It’s the fourth field built in the area by United. It was done with the help of MLS Works and the U.S. Soccer Foundation.

______________________________________________________

This story was written by one of our partner news agencies. Forum Communications Company uses content from agencies such as Reuters, Kaiser Health News, Tribune News Service and others to provide a wider range of news to our readers. Learn more about the news services FCC uses here.

Related Topics: MINNESOTA LOONS
What to read next
Pro
Jefferson bounced back from two lackluster performances to catch 10 passes for 147 yards in Sunday’s 28-25 win over New Orleans in London and was named Man of the Match.
Pro
The White Sox rallied against Twins reliever Griffin Jax, who fell to 7-4 after yielding one run on two hits in the seventh.
Pro
Arraez entered Monday’s play with a .315 to .311 edge over New York Yankees slugger Aaron Judge, who would win the first Triple Crown since 2012 if he surpassed the Minnesota Twins’ infielder.
Pro
Rookie expected to miss rest of season.