On Contract Deadline Day, Minnesota United cleaned house, ridding of 11 players previously on the roster. Such an exodus demands a busy offseason.
On Contract Deadline Day on Monday, Minnesota United got rid of 11 players: Marc Burch, Matt Lampson, Ibson, Fernando Bob, Jerome Thiesson, Collen Warner, Bertrand Owundi Eko’o, Frantz Pangop, Alex Kapp, Harrison Heath and Johan Venegas.
With only 16 players remaining on the roster, this is significant turnover. Minnesota United’s front office will have to make a lot of moves this winter to even be roster compliant.
So, what does all this turnover mean for this upcoming transfer window?
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Well, these moves immediately make Minnesota United very thin in central midfield, as only Rasmus Schuller and Collin Martin remain as the Loons’ central midfielders. Considering this, it seems highly likely that the club goes after a TAM-level or even DP defensive midfielder, assuming Sam Cronin, who is currently contemplating retirement, does not play.
The Loons have been searching for an answer in defensive midfield since Cronin’s concussion issues began. They haven’t found their man yet. Fernando Bob and Maximiano were underwhelming attempts at filling the role this season and both were released this week. Heading into the winter window, therefore, it is likely that the club signs at least two central midfielders, if not three, with one being a number six.
Another position group that’s looking pretty thin after these roster moves is fullback. Carter Manley and Eric Miller are now the only players who are certainly fullbacks on Minnesota’s roster. It is unknown at this point if Manley can be a starter at the MLS level and Miller suffered through injuries this season. The club will have to look for insurance there.
Even if captain Francisco Calvo plays as a left-back in 2019, which is highly plausible, the front office would probably still like to add either a starting-caliber right-back or versatile depth player to round out the group. Moreover, should Calvo play left-back, a leading center-back being brought in to push Brent Kallman to the bench seems like a possibility as well.
A couple of goalkeeper signings will also need to be made. MLS veteran Bobby Shuttleworth is now the only keeper remaining on Minnesota’s roster. The fact that Shuttleworth was kept on the roster over the cheaper Matt Lampson seems to point to the club sticking by Shuttleworth, despite his struggles this past season. As such, expect Minnesota to primarily target budget-friendly back-ups, although competition for Shuttleworth’s starting role should not completely be ruled out.
One thing that is certain is that is that Minnesota United have a busy offseason ahead of them. It will be interesting to see what kind of moves they make and how much the roster improves throughout the transfer window.
Can the club improve their roster enough this winter to make their first-ever playoff appearance in MLS? Time will tell, but after this 11-player exodus, they sure have a lot of work to do.