Brent Kallman can polarize Loons’ fanbase, but Woodbury native produced in massive moment

Defender is the team's longest tenured player, dating back to the NASL era

MLS: FC Dallas at Minnesota United FC
Minnesota United defender Brent Kallman clears the ball ahead of FC Dallas forward Paul Arriola during a game Sept. 3, 2022, at Allianz Field.
Matt Blewett / USA Today Sports
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ST. PAUL — Brent Kallman’s goal celebration Tuesday can be broken down into three acts.

Brent Kallman

Act I: After his header put Minnesota United up 1-0 on Los Angeles FC, the center back walked toward the sidelines, arms outstretched but his face blank.

Act II: Kallman got a chest bump by Luis Amarilla and was in the middle of a group of teammates, including corner kick provider Emanuel Reynoso and fellow center back Michael Boxall. He got added high fives from Mender Garcia and Kervin Arriaga.

Act III: Before the restart at midfield, Kallman went over to the Loons’ family section to give loving gestures toward his 10-month-old son Briggs.

The displays in Acts II and III were traditional. “It was good. I had my son there,” Kallman said postgame. “It was cool. I feel like I am playing for more than just myself now.”


The action in Act I was an oddity, especially in a crucial game for MLS Cup Playoffs seeding — and especially for a defender unaccustomed to getting on the scoresheet. So, what was up with that seriousness?

“I think people have a lot to say when it comes to me,” Kallman said before pausing. “So, I’m just going to leave it at that.”

Kallman wants his play to do the talking, and he will get another chance at that when the Loons look to further solidify their place in the MLS Cup Playoffs with a game at Sporting Kansas City at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.

The Woodbury native is the Loons’ longest-tenured player, with a homespun career dating to the club’s NASL era. But with that status and connection, the 31-year-old doesn’t enjoy a full embrace from his community, which often boosts and protects those considered “one of us.”

Minnesota locked in the sixth seed and will travel to No. 3 FC Dallas for a first-round match next week.
The Loons’ kit men are responsible for setting up the team’s oval-shaped locker room at Allianz Field, with everything players need to perform — from emergency headgear down to their socked toes.
Fragapane is on a team-friendly guaranteed compensation of $257,000, per MLSPA, and has been one of the most productive Loons over his two seasons.
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.
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.
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.
Seven field players have played at least 90% of the minutes across the five MLS matches since June 25. Two more, for a total of nine, have been on the field at least 78% of the game action in that span.
If the goalkeeper isn’t voted in, he can be added by United manager Adrian Heath
Minnesota United also working to send forward Adrien Hunou back to France
Minnesota United will play its ninth different starting lineup in the season’s ninth game on Sunday

With Kallman, it’s more complicated. His outspoken conservative political views, shared after the death of George Floyd in 2020, were met with resistance by the vocal liberal contingent in the MNUFC fanbase.

Then after starting center back Bakaye Dibassy was lost with a season-ending injury in late August, there were doubts Kallman was capable of stepping up. He had dutifully waited in the wings for most of the season but had started and contributed to the Loons’ 2-1-2 start in February and March. Was that forgotten?

Political differences and questions about his performance perhaps have been intertwined.

While the club had limited roster mechanisms to use toward adding another center back before the roster freeze deadline in early September, United manager Adrian Heath repeatedly voiced support that Kallman could step up for the stretch run.


The Loons had a rocky stretch post-Dibassy with a pair of 3-0 losses to Real Salt Lake and FC Dallas, but have been incrementally better since, in a 1-0 loss to Portland and the 1-1 draw with first-place LAFC on Tuesday. Kallman and Boxall had shares of responsibility for the goal conceded in Oregon, but the breakdown against L.A. went primarily to a stretched midfield and specifically to Arriaga.

“From a personal standpoint, I’ve felt better every game that I’ve been playing in,” Kallman said. “I feel like my fitness and my form is better. I’m seeing the pictures and taking up better positions.”

Some fans’ views of Kallman will remain dissenting, but there sure was a lot of cheering in Allianz Field when he scored on Tuesday.


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