2018 Season Preview: Minnesota United

CARSON, CA - OCTOBER 15: Abu Danladi
CARSON, CA - OCTOBER 15: Abu Danladi /

Minnesota United exceeded expectations last season but still fell short of the playoffs. Can they make the playoffs for the first time this season, despite a weak offseason?

2017 Recap

Going into last season, just about everyone expected the Loons to be among the worst clubs in MLS history, and early on, it looked like they’d they would be. Minnesota started the season with a 5-1 loss to Portland, and a 6-1 loss to Atlanta. They then earned a draw in Colorado, But were dominated again the next week, losing 5-2 in New England. Slowly but surely though, the Loons improved. Boosted by an April trade that brought Sam Cronin and Marc Burch to Minnesota, and helped further by the summer acquisitions of Sam Nicholson, Michael Boxall, and Ethan Finlay, the Loons looked competent throughout most of the rest of the season, and were able to avoid being grouped in with the worst clubs in MLS history.

Record: 10-18-6

Finishing Position: 9th in the Western Conference. 19th Overall.

Playoffs: N/A

Transfers In: 

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  • Harrison Heath (Atlanta United)
  • Frantz Pangop (Union Douala)
  • Tyrone Mears (Atlanta United)
  • Matt Lampson (Chicago Fire)
  • Bertrand Owundi Eko’o (Les Astres)

Transfers Out/Departures:

  • Justin Davis (Nashville SC)
  • Jermaine Taylor (Free Agent)
  • Joe Greenspan (Pittsburgh Riverhounds)
  • Ish Jome (Free Agent)
  • Kevin Venegas (Indy Eleven)
  • Bernardo Añor (Free Agent)
  • Patrick McLain (Free Agent)
  • Brandon Allen (New York Red Bulls)
  • Thomas De Villardi (Free Agent)

Projected Starting XI

2018 Predictions

Though the Loons did surpass expectations last season by not being one of the worst clubs in league history, the bar should be set pretty low for this season. The Loons haven’t really added anyone who will move the needle so far this offseason, as the teams who were around their level last season have all improved.

However, there do seem to be some last minutes moves in store for Minnesota United, so if they can add one or two starting-quality players before the season starts (or early on in the season, like the trade for Cronin and Burch last season), then they may surprise people yet again with how well they do, but that’s heavily dependent on any additions.

Next: Loons sign another Cameroonian international

It will be interesting to see if the Loons can add anyone in the 11th hour of the offseason, and just who it is they bring in if they’re able to make a deal.

Projected finish: 10th in Western Conference