Tag Archives: Adrian Heath

MNUFC SuperDraft Report

Bridget McDowell - Minnesota United FC/mlsfemale
Official Minnesota United FC Reporter

By Bridget McDowell // @BCMcDowell

This team is full of surprises. I was expecting to get maybe a paragraph or two out of the draft day, but Minnesota United FC was making up for lost time. Here is my update:

The north is slightly less restless. In fact, following the early-and-often negotiation tactics of coach Adrian Heath, Sporting Director Manny Lagos and Director of Player Personnel Amos Magee, was like taking a crash course in Advanced Player Acquisition. My head is still spinning, but here’s where we stand.

United first traded their 5th pick to Chicago Fire for $75,000 GAM, $100,000 TAM, the 15th pick and a player to be named later in the day. That lucky Fire player (I hope he feels that way) was goalkeeper Matt Lampson. With 24 starts in 2017, Lampson adds depth and experience to the position behind current starter Bobby Shuttleworth.

The club then acquired the 7th pick from Montreal Impact, in exchange for $150,000 in TAM, and selected forward Mason Toye. The Generation Adidas player out of Indiana University was named Big Ten Freshman of the Year in 2017. United already has two solid strikers in Christian Ramirez and Abu Danladi (the club’s first ever draft pick), but Toye can play backup to Danladi when Ramirez is on international duty and affords the flexibility to play a two-striker formation.

With the 15th pick, United selected defender Wyatt Omsberg out of Dartmouth. His 6’4″ frame will be helpful in set pieces, an aspect of the game in which United has long been lacking. Joe Greenspan was expected to play that role in 2017, but missed much of the season due to injury and was released.

Three players in one round were not enough for MNUFC. Heath and company took the final pick of the first round from Toronto FC in exchange for a second round pick and $50,000 in TAM. With that pick, they selected another defender, Carter Manley from Duke, who trained with the Loons this offseason. Manley adds more depth and options to what we expect to be a new-look back line.

But wait, there’s more! In the second round, with the 41st overall pick, United selected Xavier Gomez of the University of Nebraska – Omaha. Gomez adds depth to a midfield that is currently a little wing-heavy.

In all the post-draft interviews with United staff, one word, spoken repeatedly, stands out: Potential. So, with five new Loons reporting to training on Monday, let’s just say the north is rising.

Featured image courtesy: @MNUFC

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Latest happenings with MNUFC

Bridget McDowell - Minnesota United FC/mlsfemale
Official Minnesota United FC Reporter

By Bridget McDowell // @BCMcDowell 

Is the north rising? Or is it restless? Throughout Minnesota United FC‘s inaugural MLS season, the short buildup between the end of the 2016 NASL season and the start of the 2017 MLS season was a logical scapegoat for the squad’s slow development.

This offseason was expected to be more fluid, but instead United seems to be going through the same growing pains. With players set to report to preseason training on January 22, just three signings have been announced to replenish a roster reduced by a number of postseason cuts.

The first newcomer, acquired from Atlanta United during the half-day trade window in December, was midfielder Harrison Heath. While Heath featured very little during his time with Atlanta, he is well known to Minnesota’s gaffer – He is coach Adrian Heath‘s son. Days later, during the re-entry draft, MNUFC picked up another Five Striper, right-back Tyrone Mears. It is hoped that Mears’ MLS and EPL experience will shore up a backline that struggled in 2017.

Then, after another month of inactivity, new CEO Chris Wright dangled a carrot in front of news-starved fans at the Dark Clouds Supporters Summit on January 8. He said that the signing of a player who had featured on an international squad would be announced by the end of the week, followed the next week by another of that player’s countrymen. Enter Frantz Pangop.

The 24-year-old has two international caps and one goal for Cameroon and featured for hometown side Union Douala. While a collective groan rose from fans when they learned the first international signing of the offseason was an attacking mid (“Another winger!?”), Pangop’s highlight film shows he is equally comfortable on either side of the pitch and doesn’t shy away from dribbling through traffic.

Speculation about which of Pangop’s Cameroonian teammates will be joining him runs rampant, but the expected announcement appears to have been delayed until after the SuperDraft.

In light of this painfully long and uneventful offseason, one piece of news greatly boosted the morale of longtime United fans. Forward Christian Ramirez was finally called up to the US Mens’ National Team to train for the January 28 friendly against Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Ramirez, an NASL Golden Boot winner, was one of a handful of players to stay with United during the move up to MLS. After his teammate and close friend, Miguel Ibarra made appearances with USMNT in 2015 and 2016, Ramirez’s turn has been expected by fans for some time and the 26-year-old striker is committed to making the most of this opportunity.

A player from MNUFC’s Academy program also looks to make his mark on the national stage. Goalkeeper Fred Emmings was called up to the U-15 Youth National Team’s training camp in Florida.

Whether we are rising or restless, you know what? We’re still just happy to be here and March cannot come soon enough. Neither can a full roster.

Featured image courtesy: @MNUFC

Follow and chat with me on twitter // @BCMcDowell

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