Minneapolis, MN- Minnesota United‘s inaugural team is starting to take shape, and maybe even look a little competitive for 2017. Today’s MLS Expansion Draft, and the ensuing moves, allowed them to add some true quality to their squad for next season.
Minnesota United Make Good Use of Expansion Draft
Minnesota United’s first few signings have been mostly promoting players from their NASL level squad. While they might be OK for MLS, they really had no true MLS quality players, especially with experience in the league, on their roster. While Atlanta has jumped out and brought in world class players, and a distinguished coach in Gerardo “Tata” Martino, Minnesota has taken the quieter approach. Adrian Heath will get his second “expansion year” stint with a club in its inaugural year. But the biggest question that remains is who he will even be coaching.
That question was sort of answered today, at least adding five guys. We’ll run down their picks and their trade, then look at what they have already as far as the roster goes. First up, pick number one and the trade!
Chris Duvall, traded to Montreal for Johan Venegas
Chris Duvall was always picked to be a trade, and that’s not a bad idea. Montreal lost left-back Donny Toia and would need help there. Most likely they are going to try and keep Dominic Oduro, or have a legitimate replacement for Didier Drogba. This made Costa Rican striker Johan Venegas available. Venegas has proven on the international stage that he can score, and will be a solid addition for Minnesota.
Collen Warner, MF, Houston Dynamo
Warner played mostly as a defensive midfielder for Houston in 2016. He’s best as a box to box midfielder frankly. But, paired with someone like their next pick, Warner will be a good fit for the system. He never got on the score sheet in 2016, but his set piece delivery is above average.
Mohammed Saeid, MF, Columbus Crew
Mohammed Saeid has been a fantastic “number eight” for the Crew over the last couple years. Saeid definitely has a nose for the final ball. He performed well as a defensive midfielder in a 4-2-3-1 set up that Heath also ran in Orlando from time to time.
Jeff Attinella, GK, Real Salt Lake
RSL has plenty of keepers around, and a really good one in Nick Rimando. Attinella would be interesting as a first choice keeper, I would expect him to be more of a top notch backup. Minnesota saw him back in his NASL days, as he saved three penalties in their “Soccer Bowl” final in 2012 as the Tampa Bay Rowdies won the title. Attinella may flourish with regular time in MLS though.
Femi Hollinger-Janzen, F, New England Revolution
This pick can only be because of age. Janzen wasn’t a revelation at striker for the Revs, but did score a couple goals and get an assist in 2016. His 276 minutes of action is likely due to the plethora of strikers they had. Janzen is only 22 and will have plenty of time to grow and develop as a player. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to draft him and keep him for depth.
Overall, the biggest thing here is that Minnesota have finally completed the “spine” of their team. The have two midfielders, they already traded for a center back, and have added a striker and a keeper. The spine of their team is intact, now it’s time to fill out the rest of the squad. Free agency starts today, so look for them to be active in that market!