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RE: Soccer Made in Minnesota

 
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RE: Soccer Made in Minnesota - 12/21/2018 10:28:12 AM   
TJSweens


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This signing looks like what Jeff is pushing for. They laid out significant coin for a European player in his prime. He's played for the Slovakian senior national team since 2015.

Minnesota United signs high-priced Jan Gregus to fill defensive midfield hole

By ANDY GREDER

For more than a season, Minnesota United’s biggest weakness has been at defensive midfielder, and the Loons hope they have have filled that gap with the high-priced signing of Jan Gregus on Thursday.

The 27-year-old Slovakian has played the past two-plus seasons for FC Copenhagen, the No. 1 team in Denmark’s top league, and 6-foot-3, two-way player has made 22 appearances for the Slovakian senior national team since 2015.

“It’s a guy in the prime of his career from a big club and has a lot of European experience and big European moments,” said United sporting director Manny Lagos. “… He comes from a club that has been in European competition 12 out of 13 years. There is an expectation of quality and excellence and winning, and he’s going to bring that to us.”

With Minnesota allowing a league-worst 141 goals in its first two MLS seasons, Gregus “embraces that roll sitting in front of the back four and really dictating the tempo in the play,” Lagos said.

Gregus will become one Minnesota’s three Designated Players, the highest-level MLS contact that carries big expectations. Attacking midfielder Darwin Quintero and forward Angelo Rodriguez occupy the other two DP spots.

“He’s somebody that’s going to lead because he’s got great skill on the field, and he’s going to open up the play and get the ball to good attacking players in spots because he’s so technically good with both feet and good at spraying the ball around the field.”

United has been without a primary defensive midfielder since Sam Cronin went down with concussion and neck issues in August 2017 and missed the final nine games of that first season. He suffered another head injury in the 2018 preseason and didn’t play at all last season.

United didn’t pursue long-term deals with Brazilian defensive midfielders Maximiano or Fernando Bob after last season and they didn’t renew the contract of Collen Warner.

Gregus has made 107 appearances for FC Copenhagen, including an appearance in the 2016 EUFA Champions League and the current Europa League. With an ability to take set pieces, he has scored two goals in 18 games this season, according to soccerway.com.


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Post #: 151
RE: Soccer Made in Minnesota - 12/21/2018 12:51:37 PM   
Jeff Jesser


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quote:

ORIGINAL: joejitsu

Damn. First loss in something like 20 matches! But, we're in the hunt right now. And, a lot of the younger guys look really good. Guendouzi plays well every time he gets a chance on the field. Tottenham will be a test tomorrow.



Spuds burned us on the counters. We huffed and puffed but it wasn't enough. We need 2 D signings before we can truly compete.
Post #: 152
RE: Soccer Made in Minnesota - 12/21/2018 12:54:02 PM   
Jeff Jesser


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quote:

ORIGINAL: TJSweens

This signing looks like what Jeff is pushing for. They laid out significant coin for a European player in his prime. He's played for the Slovakian senior national team since 2015.

Minnesota United signs high-priced Jan Gregus to fill defensive midfield hole

By ANDY GREDER

For more than a season, Minnesota United’s biggest weakness has been at defensive midfielder, and the Loons hope they have have filled that gap with the high-priced signing of Jan Gregus on Thursday.

The 27-year-old Slovakian has played the past two-plus seasons for FC Copenhagen, the No. 1 team in Denmark’s top league, and 6-foot-3, two-way player has made 22 appearances for the Slovakian senior national team since 2015.

“It’s a guy in the prime of his career from a big club and has a lot of European experience and big European moments,” said United sporting director Manny Lagos. “… He comes from a club that has been in European competition 12 out of 13 years. There is an expectation of quality and excellence and winning, and he’s going to bring that to us.”

With Minnesota allowing a league-worst 141 goals in its first two MLS seasons, Gregus “embraces that roll sitting in front of the back four and really dictating the tempo in the play,” Lagos said.

Gregus will become one Minnesota’s three Designated Players, the highest-level MLS contact that carries big expectations. Attacking midfielder Darwin Quintero and forward Angelo Rodriguez occupy the other two DP spots.

“He’s somebody that’s going to lead because he’s got great skill on the field, and he’s going to open up the play and get the ball to good attacking players in spots because he’s so technically good with both feet and good at spraying the ball around the field.”

United has been without a primary defensive midfielder since Sam Cronin went down with concussion and neck issues in August 2017 and missed the final nine games of that first season. He suffered another head injury in the 2018 preseason and didn’t play at all last season.

United didn’t pursue long-term deals with Brazilian defensive midfielders Maximiano or Fernando Bob after last season and they didn’t renew the contract of Collen Warner.

Gregus has made 107 appearances for FC Copenhagen, including an appearance in the 2016 EUFA Champions League and the current Europa League. With an ability to take set pieces, he has scored two goals in 18 games this season, according to soccerway.com.




It's the type of signing that will help, for sure. Not sure about the actual guy though, never seen him play. Having a good/solid 6 will do wonders to a defense. It's a very tough position to find the right guy. That position, above all others, is all about the right attitude.
Post #: 153
RE: Soccer Made in Minnesota - 12/21/2018 4:22:40 PM   
TJSweens


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Wow! That was an actual lukewarm endorsement from Jeff.

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Post #: 154
RE: Soccer Made in Minnesota - 12/26/2018 5:22:49 PM   
joejitsu

 

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1-1 against BHA?!? We need to either sign some defensemen who are comfortable playing back, or scheme the dmen to play way deeper than they currently do.
Post #: 155
RE: Soccer Made in Minnesota - 1/14/2019 2:09:13 PM   
TJSweens


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Minnesota United made a couple more moves:

1. They finagled the top pick in the waiver order and picked up Ozzie Alonso, who is a multi time all star from Seattle. Since he has his U.S. citizenship, he doesn't take up one of their international slots. This move and signing Jan Gregus goes a long way toward shoring up the pathetic defense.

2. Picked NCAA champ goalie Dayne St. Clair, from the University of Maryland and Canadian youth national team in the super draft. Then they traded for #15 and took St. Clair's teammate left fullback Chase Gasper. St. Clair is supposed to be the best goalkeeper in the draft. A MLSsoccer.com reporter, Bobby Warshaw, says Gasper is “the most pro-ready outside back of everybody getting drafted.”

3. The Pioneer Press says the Loons offered a two-year contract to Romain Metanire, a right back who plays for Stade de Reims in the top French league. He's 28.

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Post #: 156
RE: Soccer Made in Minnesota - 1/14/2019 2:51:58 PM   
Jeff Jesser


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Stade de Reims is a mid table side and the French League one has some really good teams. He's going to be tested for sure. PSG are a world powerhouse.
Post #: 157
RE: Soccer Made in Minnesota - 1/28/2019 9:46:49 AM   
TJSweens


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The Pioneer Press confirmed that Minnesota United dug deep into their allotment money and signed Romain Metanire from the top French league. He is a right back. I'm a neophyte at all of this, but it would appear that the Loons have come up big in their efforts to overhaul their defense by adding Metanire, Alonso and Gregus. They are also getting Ethan Finlay and Kevin Molino back. Both were out all last year with knee injuries. According to Heath, one of the worst parts of the defensive players' games last year was that they took too long to recognize where to go with the ball on the rare occasions that they made stops. He claims Darwin Quintaro would always find the open seam on those occasions and the defenders were constantly too late to recognize it. These guys are all supposed to excel at that part of the game.

The offense should have a good uptick as well with a full season of Darwin Quintero, Angelo Rodriguez and Romario Ibarra playing together.

Word is they are still looking for a middle defender and a starting goalie. They gave up trying to get a really good goal keeper from Argentina when some serious accusations and evidence of him committing domestic abuse surfaced.

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Post #: 158
RE: Soccer Made in Minnesota - 1/28/2019 5:03:09 PM   
Jeff Jesser


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Overall I've also been pretty impressed with the moves they've made this year. The years before? Nah, that seemed like it was more of the same MN sports scene. They don't really have any big names but we have to be realistic with that. If you're a big name in the game, and come to MLS, it's either 1 of 2 reasons:

You are washed up and want to have your kids grow up in America
You can still play and want a change of scenery. That's guys like Ibra and again, lets be honest. Those guys are going to 1 of 5 places only:

NYC
Miami
LA
Chicago
DC
Post #: 159
RE: Soccer Made in Minnesota - 1/28/2019 5:06:45 PM   
Jeff Jesser


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Anytime you get a relatively young guy from any of the leagues/teams, it's probably a good sign:

Premiership
Seria A
League 1
Bundesliga
La Liga

Boca Juniors
River Plate
Rangers
Celtic


Now, when you are getting young guys from the top Finish league......you have a problem.
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RE: Soccer Made in Minnesota - 1/29/2019 9:26:14 AM   
TJSweens


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And now they addressed the center back position in a big way.

Loons trade for top MLS center back Ike Opara from Kansas City

Minnesota United’s defensive overhaul continues to be bolstered by veterans known as some of the best in Major League Soccer.

The Loons traded for lauded 6-foot-2 center back Ike Opara from Sporting Kansas City, the club announced Monday. The Loons will give its Western Conference rival $900,000 in Targeted Allocation Money and up to $100,000 more based on incentives, the club said.

This move comes on the heels of the Loons bringing in former Seattle defensive midfielder Ozzie Alonso, a 33-year-old, four-time MLS all-star and MLS Cup champion, in an acquisition with the Sounders and Orlando City on Jan. 10. United has also added right back Romain Metanire for France’s Ligue 1 and Jan Gregus from the Danish SuperLiga. Each player is north of 27 years old.

“We’ve been laser-focused on adding starters in key positions of need this offseason, and we feel that Ike (Opara) is an excellent addition to a really good core group of defenders already on our roster,” United sporting director Manny Lagos said in a statement. “He provides a wealth of MLS experience — he is coming off of two great years.”

Opara, 29, was named MLS defender of the year and to the league’s Best XI in 2017. With two years left on his contract, he sought a raise from the $342,000 he earned in 2018, per the Kansas City Star, with Sporting instead opting to trade him.

The Loons are spending a portion of the $800,000 in allocation money acquired in the trade of forward Christian Ramirez to Los Angeles FC last August, a source told the Pioneer Press.

Opara has been with Sporting’s preseason training in Scottsdale, Ariz., and could join the Loons in nearby Tucson soon.

Opara has been a mainstay in the middle of Kansas City’s defense for the past three seasons. He played in 25 games in 2016, 30 games in 2017, and a career-high 31 games in 2018, which ended in a Western Conference final loss to the Portland Timbers.

The Durham, N.C., native and product of Wake Forest was drafted third overall in the 2010 SuperDraft. He played sparingly across three seasons for the San Jose Earthquakes and also couldn’t consistently break into K.C.’s starting XI for another three years.



It's not from one of the top leagues, but it is a top MLS player at his position and in his prime. The only box left to check on their off season wish list is for a starting goalie.

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RE: Soccer Made in Minnesota - 2/26/2019 10:17:02 AM   
SoMnFan


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http://www.espn.com/soccer/major-league-soccer/19/blog/post/3779772/ike-opara-wanted-a-fair-deal-now-hes-got-a-fresh-start-and-a-new-challenge-in-Minnesota
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RE: Soccer Made in Minnesota - 3/4/2019 10:58:02 AM   
El Duderino


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Great start for the Loons. Quintero right back in mid-season form. Calvo played as well as I've seen from him. Both Ibarras looked good. New right back Metanire was very impactful, getting off dangerous cross after dangerous cross.

If this is what they're going to play like, this will be a fun season

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RE: Soccer Made in Minnesota - 3/4/2019 12:27:02 PM   
Jeff Jesser


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They've assembled a very promising roster, that's for sure. They even have a really good keeper.
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RE: Soccer Made in Minnesota - 3/13/2019 11:38:25 AM   
SoMnFan


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Impressive



8. Minnesota United (2-0-0)

Previous ranking: 12

Next MLS match: Saturday, March 16 at LA Galaxy (10.30 p.m. ET, ESPN+)

Don't say it too loud, but the Loons might be good. The hell with it, the Loons are good -- in the month of March after two games against teams that failed to qualify for the playoffs out of the Western Conference last season and are in the midst of breaking in new coaches. OK, Minnesota, how about this: Win next week and we promise to consider leaving out the qualifiers.
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RE: Soccer Made in Minnesota - 3/15/2019 11:42:51 AM   
TJSweens


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Another sign of an improved team; Minnesota United requested and received a bye for next week because they had 5 players called up to their national teams from March 17 - 25. Two of the guys we signed in the off season, Jan Gregus,and Romain Metanire were selected and so was Romario Ibarra, who was a big signing last August.

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RE: Soccer Made in Minnesota - 4/5/2019 11:28:05 AM   
SoMnFan


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Alex Morgan with her 100th last night
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RE: Soccer Made in Minnesota - 4/14/2019 8:37:50 AM   
Jeff Jesser


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Watched the game in full yesterday. I've chimed in on the acquisitions, as I could, but haven't followed the actual team/games much. This is what I saw yesterday.

Broadcast crew raved about the new stadium (especially the beer selection and food ). That actually means something because it was Taylor Twellman who is generally a prick about everything that isn't related to TT. That dude has always been bitter after he wasn't given a chance to be a big part of the NAT's. Crowd was also in to it and that also isn't a big surprise. MN has always been an undercover hotbed for soccer, IMO.

The game was pretty wide open but the actual play wasn't all that great but I think that's kind of "the MLS way". The constant replay kills the flow of the game. If that's what FIFA tries to adopt as VAR the game will suffer badly. In the first half some bloke broke in to United's box, felt a tap, dove like Luganus and they went to VAR. They deemed 'no foul'. If that's the case (and it was clear as day) then that's gotta be an auto Yellow. Yet nothing. What's the f'ng point then? You just let a guy dive/cheat and there was no punishment yet, if they changed the call and there was a foul, clear punishment on United. It's a totally unbalanced system that rewards divers.

The team...

I was impressed with Quintero and Alonso. I was horrified by Rodriguez and Boxall. You can tell why they like Quintero so much. Kids got great vision and makes a lot of plays and passes other guys can't make/see.

Boxall was a complete disaster and directly responsible for 2 of their 3 goals. Rodriguez was a complete non factor but in his defense, the formation is not conducive to a point striker like that. Heath played a 4-3-2-1 and if you have a pure holding striker (or a big striker like that who doesn't use quickness/speed) you need to bomb your wing backs up the pitch and get them up to send in crosses from the wide areas of the pitch. We didn't do that. We tried to play through the midfield which is much better served to a 4-4-2 where the strikers can make runs off each other and have a traditional #10 find them with seeing-eye-balls. That relies on much more speed/quick guys though. We seemed to be trying a hybrid approach.

Another thing I was not impressed with was the amount of space between our midfiled and our backline. There was a WHOLE lot of open field between the 2 and it left us exposed quite a bit.
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RE: Soccer Made in Minnesota - 4/17/2019 2:07:10 AM   
twinsfan


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Is the new stadium just down the road from the Turf Club? I don't understand where there could be enough parking in that area.

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Post #: 169
RE: Soccer Made in Minnesota - 4/20/2019 9:17:35 AM   
TJSweens


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Looks like the investment in defenders is paying no dividends for the Loons. At least 3 of the goals they gave up, last night, were the result of defenders not paying attention and getting caught looking stupid. The lone exception was Romain Metanire, who even to my untrained soccer eye is several levels above the rest and Quintero's only peer on the team.

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RE: Soccer Made in Minnesota - 5/3/2019 11:27:33 AM   
TJSweens


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United unloaded Fracisco Calvo to Chicago. The organization wasn't happy with his play or his red card against Toronto and then they played their 2 best defensive games of the year with him out of the lineup.

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Post #: 171
RE: Soccer Made in Minnesota - 5/3/2019 12:08:47 PM   
Jeff Jesser


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Team captain and he's shipped out? He must have been an ass behind the scenes.
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RE: Soccer Made in Minnesota - 5/3/2019 12:20:01 PM   
TJSweens


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I remember him running his mouth last year over the praise Atlanta was getting. There must have something going on because the articles seem to hint that his red card a few games ago was kind of a last straw type of thing. From my limited soccer perspective, he seems to get caught out of position a lot defensively.

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RE: Soccer Made in Minnesota - 5/3/2019 4:39:00 PM   
Jeff Jesser


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That doesn't surprise me. Some of the nastiest guys in the game come from area of the world. It's a combo of:

A. it's taught
B. some of them struggle early on in life and this is their 1 chance out of that lifestyle. They fight like crazy to get there and would do anything
C. tons of competition growing up for those guys. You have to have something a little different to be found by scouts
Post #: 174
RE: Soccer Made in Minnesota - 5/3/2019 5:13:44 PM   
twinsfan


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I wonder if Turf Club is busier than usual with the new stadium sitting in its shadow?

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