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Loons send two teams into action across the Midwest on Wednesday

With their new head coach fresh on the job and seeking every meaningful competitive moment, Minnesota United plays not one but two games on Wednesday.

Its second team, MNUFC2, represents the franchise in a Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup game in Chicago while the first team plays an international friendly at Allianz Field against Irish side St. Patrick's Athletic F.C., from suburban Dublin.

Both games start at 7 p.m. The friendly will be streamed live on MNUFC.com while the U.S Open Cup opener for both the Loons and the Midwest Premier League's Chicago House A.C. will be streamed live on ussoccer.com.

The first team plays against St. Patrick's without six players — including Finnish national team members Teemu Pukki and Robin Lod — who are away on international duty this week.

"I'm not seeing it as a friendly," new head coach Eric Ramsay said. "Obviously, it's early on in my time here. I want time to work with the players. I want to see them in a competitive context. The opposition will be decent, so there's a really good chance for us to approach it as a proper game.

"I'm hearing the stadium probably won't be full, but I think there will be good attendance, so it will feel like a proper game. And the players and we as staff need to approach it that way."

The Loons will return to MLS play on March 30 at Philadelphia.

MNUFC2 is one of 11 MLS Next Pro teams entered in the venerable U.S. Open Cup. Eight MLS clubs will compete as well. The league and U.S. Soccer reached an agreement after MLS balked at continuing its participation, citing too many other competitions — including the new Leagues Cup — now crowding the schedule.

The 109-year-old U.S. Open Cup returns this year to a format where all 32 first-round games will pit a pro team against an amateur team. The Loons' lineup will include MNUFC2 players and select academy players as well as forward Jordan Adebayo-Smith, who was a second-half sub in the Loons' first two MLS games this season and played all 90 minutes in MNUFC2′s season-opening loss at LAFC on Sunday.

Second-team assistant coach Jeremy Hall will coach the Open Cup game in Chicago. The Loons reached the 2019 U.S. Open Cup final before losing to Atlanta United.

"This is a really messy week to deal with, as you can probably gather," Ramsay said. "I want to value all competitions the clubs plays in. If the second team [plays] in the U.S. Open Cup, we're going to play to win. We're going to support them where we can. This week is an anomaly because of the two games. It's a really difficult situation for everyone to deal with."