Minnesota United’s front office has returned from its winter hibernation to make some of the first announcements regarding the 2018 season.

The headlining announcement is that the Loons will allow Johan Venegas to leave the club on a one-year loan deal. The Costa Rican international will be heading home via this move as he will join Saprissa of the Primera División de Costa Rica.

This move is in no way shocking and was actually predicted months ago by myself and other members of the Zone Coverage: Minnesota Soccer Podcast. Venegas couldn’t prove himself effective enough when given numerous chances last season by United head coach Adrian Heath. Add in the 29-year-old’s petulant attitude when being subbed off in games or other bust-ups in training and this move makes all the sense in the world.

“We think this is the best environment for Johan as he continues preparations for the World Cup,” Minnesota United’s Sporting Director Manny Lagos said in a release. “We hope he does well and has a successful World Cup.”

In short, an average player makes above average noise off the field and therefore is unloaded. Smart sports organizations make this decision all the time, so kudos to United.

The more exciting news for MNUFC fans is that this is a sign there will soon be a flurry of roster announcements, including the possible revealing of big-name signings using the Designated Player slots.

The Loons also announced their 2018 preseason and regular season schedules. United will kick off the preseason in just six short weeks on Feb. 17 in South Carolina.

This means the MLS season is almost exactly two months away with Minnesota beginning on March 3 versus San Jose. United’s first home game will be March 17 against Chicago.

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