Minnesota United entered 2021 with high hopes after a strong playoff run in 2020. They finished the regular season fifth in the Western Conference, six points back of a home playoff game and with a -2 goal differential.
What does Minnesota United look like heading into 2022?
Defender Oniel Fisher recently signed as a free agent. Fisher spent 2021 with the LA Galaxy and only played in 12 matches. He was with DC United in 2020 where he played in 15 matches. In the last two years combined, he’s only logged about 1,100 minutes.
Honduran international Kervin Arriaga was just signed to a two year deal. The 24-year-old defensive midfielder has over 100 professional appearances, all in Honduras. He’ll be working to replace Ozzie Alonso’s Hall of Fame hole in the midfield.
Abu Danladi returns to Minnesota after two season in Nashville. He made 25 appearances over two seasons with three goals and one assist.
The biggest acquisition for Minnesota is South African striker Bongokuhle Hlongwane under a U-22 Initiative contract. Hlongwane has eight caps for South Africa. In four professional seasons, Hlongwane has eight total goals.
UPDATE: 2/19/22- Luis Amarilla has officially rejoined MNUFC as a designated player. Amarilla is a Paraguayan forward who was most recently on loan at Ecuadorian side, LD Quito. Amarilla spent 2020 on loan at Minnesota where he made seven appearances, scoring two goals and bagging one assist.
Slovakian international and designated player, Jan Gregus, is out. After clashing with Adrian Heath, Gregus’ contract option was declined and he was selected by the San Jose Earthquakes in the Re-Entry draft.
Winger Ethan Finlay left as a free agent and signed with Austin FC.
Similarly, Ozzie Alonso left in free agency for the beautiful artificial turf of Atlanta.
Designated Player, Thomas Chacon, was bought out by Minnesota, freeing up both a DP and international spot. Chacon spent last season on loan in his native Uruguay and made a limited number of starts for Minnesota during his time on the roster.
Minnesota’s season with depend heavily on how the situation with star midfielder, Emanuel “Bebo” Reynoso, plays out. Reynoso was arrested and spent a couple weeks in jail back in Argentina after being accused of some pretty serious crimes. He’s one of the most dynamic #10s in the league and if he were to miss any substantial time, Minnesota’s midfield would have a massive hole.
It will be interesting to see how striker Adrien Hunou will adapt in year number two. He was brought in as a DP to score goals but struggled for consistency in his first season. Not uncommon for international players coming to the league, Minnesota can’t afford for a mediocre season from the #9 spot.
Where do you think our friends to the North finish? My guess is that they might sneak in to a playoff spot but will definitely be on the road. I’m skeptical that their additions will be productive and make up for the losses of veterans like Alonso and Finlay.
At least their kits look like they’ve got some potential to be cool.