Minnesota enjoyed their best season in MLS in 2020, coming painfully close to a trip to MLS Cup led by mid-season addition Emanuel Reynoso. They made a handful of changes already to the roster and have the flexibility for some more as the year progresses.
The Loons figure to be challenging around the top of the Western Conference again in 2021.
- MLS Reg. Season: 4th place in Western Conference (34 pts - 1.62 PPG - 9-5-7, +10 GD)
- Audi MLS Cup Playoffs: Eliminated in Western Conference Championship by Seattle Sounders, 3-2
Reynoso’s immediate impact for Minnesota was incredible to behold and it only got better as he got integrated to his surroundings and teammates, He had a goal and four assists in the team’s last three regular season games, then he had a goal and seven assists in three playoff games (253 minutes!!). Bonkers. What will a full season look like for the No. 10?
Gregus has been a strong, consistent addition to the Loons midfield since arriving in 2019, with two goals and 18 assists in 48 appearances. He’s likely to lose some assists as Reynoso shares set piece duties, but he’s one of the better dead ball specialists in the league.
The Madagascar international right back is a marauding presence up and down the right flank, recognized with a 2019 MLS All-Star selection.
Young Player to Watch
The cousin of USMNT forward Tim Weah and nephew of the legendary George Weah, Patrick signed a homegrown contract with Minnesota and is embarking on his first professional season. With that name and talent, expectations are high for the forward.
- Wil Trapp: The longtime Columbus Crew midfielder is on his third team in as many years following a sojourn in Miami last year. Trapp will make up one of the strongest central midfield depth charts in the league, alongside the likes of Reynoso, Gregus, Ozzie Alonso and Hassani Dotson.
- Jukka Raitala: Raitala joins from CF Montréal and gives the club valuable competition and depth in defense, behind likely starter Chase Gasper. Gasper is on the fringes of the US national team, so could miss some time this summer, while Raitala is a regular for Finland.
- Kevin Molino: Molino enjoyed one of the best years of his career last year and departs via free agency for Columbus Crew. His creativity and ability in the final third will be missed by the Loons.
- Kei Kamara: The veteran MLS forward was brought in towards the end of the 2020 season, but Minnesota gradually ended up playing without a traditional forward over their playoff run. His contract expired this winter and he’s yet to sign elsewhere.
Projected Starting XI
- Goalkeepers (4): Fred Emmings, Tyler Miller, Dayne St. Clair, Adrian Zendejas
- Defenders (10): Noah Billingsley, Michael Boxall, Bakaye Dibassy, Chase Gasper, Brent Kallman, Romain Metanire, Callum Montgomery, Ike Opara, Jukka Raitala, DJ Taylor
- Midfielders (10): Osvaldo Alonso, Thomas Chacon, Hassani Dotson, Ethan Finlay, Jan Gregus, Niko Hansen, Jacori Hayes, Robin Lod, Emanuel Reynoso, Wil Trapp
- Forwards (3): Juan Agudelo, Foster Langsdorf, Patrick Weah
Armchair Analyst's Breakdown
- Strength: No matter what happens at other spots, it sure looks like central midfield will be an area of strength. Gregus is a foundational piece, they brought back Ozzie Alonso and they get Bebelo for a full year, while Hassani Dotson and Wil Trapp provide experienced depth.
- Weakness: As of now Bebelo really is the only match-winner on the team — as he goes, so goes Minnesota United. There’s been no replacement for Molino’s on-the-ball dynamism and there is, as yet, no big-time No. 9 who can change a game all by himself. More than any other good team in the league, the Loons feel like a one-man-show in attack.
- Charles Boehm: 3rd in West
- Tom Bogert: 4th in West
- Susannah Collins: 3rd in West
- Matthew Doyle: 3rd in West
- Sam Jones: 3rd in West
- Michael Lahoud: 8th in West
- Joe Lowery: 6th in West
- Jillian Sakovits: 5th in West
- Greg Seltzer: 4th in West
- Steve Zakuani: 6th in West