Vito Mannone - Man on Form

Vito Mannone is a popular man around Minnesota United’s training ground these days.

After a recent practice, Mannone is one of the last players to leave the pitch. Engaged in a friendly match of soccer-tennis with teammates, he volleys and heads the ball over the net with a touch as skilled as any outfield player.

After securing a victory in straight sets, Mannone joined to talk about his time so far in Minnesota.

The Italian goalkeeper, currently on loan with the Loons from English Championship club Reading, has been a key player during Minnesota’s current seven-game winning streak in competitive fixtures.

During that span, United have advanced to the semifinals of the U.S. Open Cup and sit 4th in the Western Conference, currently on track for their best finish in MLS. Mannone has helped hold opponents to just eight goals while the Loons have scored 27 of their own.

“It’s a great streak,” said Mannone of his club’s form. “I’ve been in other ones, but it’s great to mix the cup and the league. The cup takes you to the semifinals, which is an important stage of the cup. Obviously, MLS is something important for us to gain points as much as possible to be up there for the playoffs.”

Mannone entered Minnesota’s record books recently as he completed his sixth clean sheet of the season in a wild 1-0 win over FC Dallas, a club record for shutouts. He downplays the importance of the individual honour, asserting that he and his teammates “have done nothing yet,” but admits he’s feeling plenty “confident” in his play.

You can read the rest of the story on the MLS website now.