Minnesota United announced a myriad of roster decisions on Monday in conjunction with the conclusion of the 2017 Major League Soccer season.
In total, eight players were released by the Loons. There was no major shocks in who was kept and who was let go.
United revealed that the majority of its returners and key players from the 2017 season “were already guaranteed” contracts for the upcoming 2018 season. Those players include: Abu Danladi, Christian Ramirez, Sam Cronin, Ethan Finlay, Miguel Ibarra, Kevin Molino, Sam Nicholson, Rasmus Schuller, Collen Warner, Michael Boxall, Marc Burch, Francisco Calvo, Vadim Demidov and Jerome Thiesson.
Among the players who were evidently on one-year deals going into this campaign and have been resigned by MNUFC are Ibson, Collin Martin, Johan Venegas, Brent Kallman, Alex Kapp and Bobby Shuttleworth.
Ibson, Kallman and Shuttleworth were no-brainers to bring back for 2018 given all three proved to be starter-worthy during the season. Martin and Kapp’s retention alludes to potential that the coaching staff is seeing on the practice field. Venegas is really the only eyebrow-raising move as he showed throughout the season that his behavior can be petulant and immature. The Costa Rican international being traded during the offseason seems highly probable.
Below is the list of drops combined with analysis conjecturing as to why their contracts were not renewed:
Bernardo Anor — has valuable MLS experience and United sporting director Manny Lagos seems to be a big fan of his, but constant injuries meant the 29-year-old’s playing window was closing quickly
Ismaila Jome — this one hurts as he’s a hometown kid. The Brooklyn Park native couldn’t prove he had the soccer knowledge to combine with his considerable athleticism and technique.
Justin Davis — a symbol of what went wrong with player acquisition for United in its inaugural season. Davis, 29, is an aging second division player who wasn’t ready to make the jump to the next level.
Thomas de Villardi — a second-round draft pick who had the odds stacked against him anyway but a major injury during the season certainly didn’t help.
Joe Greenspan — this was probably among the hardest cuts for the Loon’s staff as the 25-year-old has a massive frame and potential to match, but his injury history is frightening, especially when it comes to his multitude of concussions.
Jermaine Taylor — the 32-year-old’s experience was helpful at times for a team that was often overwhelmed, but it’s time to move on and open up spots for young players with potential.
Kevin Venegas — See Davis, Justin.
As it pertains to the Loon’s loan contracts, Brandon Allen’s has completed and he will return to the New York Red Bulls. Jose Leiton’s loan deal runs until July 10.
Minnesota United’s complete roster as of today:
Goalkeepers: Alex Kapp, Bobby Shuttleworth
Defenders: Michael Boxall, Marc Burch, Francisco Calvo, Vadim Demidov, Brent Kallman, Jerome Thiesson
Midfielders: Ibson, Sam Cronin, Ethan Finlay, Miguel Ibarra, José Leitón, Collin Martin, Kevin Molino, Sam Nicholson, Rasmus Schuller, Collen Warner, Johan Venegas
Forwards: Abu Danladi, Christian Ramirez