Sam Cronin - Colorado Rapids - Close up
USA Today Sports Images

Minnesota acquire Cronin and Burch, trade Saeid and Gatt to Colorado

Minnesota United FC have made moves to shore up their squad.

The expansion club announced on Friday that it has acquired holding midfielder Sam Cronin and left back Marc Burch. Cronin was brought in off waivers after Minnesota sent their natural third-round pick in the 2019 MLS SuperDraft to the Chicago Fire in exchange for the top spot in the waiver order possition. Burch, meanwhile, was landed via a trade that saw Minnesota United ship midfielder Mohammed Saeid, winger Josh Gatt, and an international roster spot to the Colorado Rapids.

“With this move we have added strength, leadership and MLS experience to our roster.” said MNUFC sporting director Manny Lagos in a statement released by the club. “Sam Cronin and Marc Burch were leaders on and off the field in Colorado and we are confident they will bring these important qualities to our club.”

Cronin and Burch were both major parts of the Rapids team that finished second in the Supporters’ Shield standings and posted the best defensive record in the league last year, with Cronin starting 33 regular-season games and captaining Colorado to the Western Conference Championship series and Burch appearing in 28 matches. Both Cronin, 30, and Burch, 32, have more than 200 career MLS appearances and each started all three of Colorado’s matches this season.

The two veterans join a Minnesota team that’s been dreadful defensively in 2017. The Loons have given up 18 goals in just four games this year, 12 more than any other team in the league. Minnesota have conceded at least five goals in three of their four matches, with their best defensive performance coming in a 2-2 draw at Colorado on March 18.

Saeid, 26, was previously acquired this winter by Minnesota after spending the previous two seasons with Columbus. The central midfielder, who plays more of an attacking role than Cronin, has zero goals and six assists in 53 career MLS matches, with three starts in 2017. Gatt, 25, signed with Minnesota in February after spending five years with Norwegian club Molde. Once a promising US international before three major knee injuries derailed his career, the Michigan native has yet to appear in MLS action.

Minnesota will be in action on Saturday, when they’ll host Real Salt Lake at TCF Bank Stadium (8 pm ET | MLS LIVE). Colorado have the weekend off after their match against Dallas, which was initially scheduled for Saturday, was moved to accommodate FCD’s preparation for Leg 2 of their CONCACAF Champions League semifinal at Pachuca on Tuesday.