According to reports from both the St. Paul Pioneer Press’ Andy Greder and The Athletic’s Jeff Rueter, Minnesota United completed a trade before the close of the MLS primary transfer window late Tuesday night.
The Loons sent attacking midfielder Sam Nicholson and an international roster spot to the Colorado Rapids in exchange for defender Eric Miller and $50,000 in general allocation money, via Greder’s story.
Nicholson’s appearances for Minnesota this season have been wide-ranging, from his game-winning goal in United’s home opener to a low-impact appearance in his most recent start, Saturday’s win against Houston.
Given that Nicholson started six of Minnesota’s eight games this season and appeared in all eight, this move feels a little surprising, especially given the recent injury to Ethan Finlay.
Miller has not appeared yet in the 2018 season, but started 53 of the 56 games he played in Colorado across the past two seasons and was named Colorado’s defensive player of the year in 2017. Last Word on Soccer’s Matt Pollard reported Tuesday that Miller was almost back to full fitness from an undisclosed injury, which Pollard had reported as long ago as April 11.
If Miller is the same player that added to Colorado’s stingy defense of 2017, he would seem to be another wise acquisition to shore up Minnesota’s notoriously leaky defense. Adrian Heath and Manny Lagos are unlikely to have made this move without seeing serious upside in Miller’s game.
Miller also becomes the second native of Woodbury, MN to play for United, joining Brent Kallman. Kallman and Miller both attended Creighton, and all of Kallman, Miller and Finlay played in Creighton’s loss in the NCAA semifinals in 2011.
The trade will open up new opportunities up front and possibly shore things up at the back, but is not nearly as clear of a win as a move like the Darwin Quintero signing.