It’s that time of year again! We’re going through each team in the Western Conference to see how they ended last year, how things have gone in the offseason, and what we might expect from them in 2020. They will be published in no particular order, and you can find all of them here.
2019 Record: 15-11-8 (53 points, 4th in WC, lost round 1 to LA Galaxy)
Goals For: 52 (T-4th in WC)
Goals Against: 43 (3rd best in WC)
3 Key Additions:
Tyler Miller, Jacori Hayes, Marlon Hairston (maybe just for Rapids fans)
3 Key Subtractions:
Miguel Ibarra, Darwin Quintero, Vito Mannone
After two years of being out-played, Minnesota appeared to finally take the jump to MLS in 2019. Last off-season, Minnesota shipped off fan-favorite Christian Ramirez to LAFC in order to bring in a new Designated Player in Jan Gregus. After picking up Sounders’ captain Osvaldo Alonso as a free agent and sending a record amount of money (for an MLS defender) to Kansas City for a strong centerback in Ike Opara, the Loons improved drastically. Minnesota clinched their first playoff berth in the club’s three-year MLS history, only to lose to the LA Galaxy in the first round.
For 2020, the Loons haven’t made many upgrades and are still looking to replace playmaker Darwin Quintero, who joined Houston earlier this offseason, so I don’t really expect them to exceed their 2019 season in terms of points. Besides Quintero, the Loons also lost reigning Goalkeeper of The Year, Vito Mannone, when his loan expired at the end of the year. They are still seeking to replace Quintero and haven’t made any other moves to improve their offense, but they did acquire goalkeeper Tyler Miller from LAFC in exchange for 200k in allocation money. While Miller probably isn’t a Goalkeeper of The Year contender, he is only 26 years old and is coming off a successful season with LAFC. With Miller, who has 64 MLS appearances and a USMNT call-up to his name, and backup Greg Ranjitsingh, Minnesota won’t be concerned in the keeping department.
The only real key addition so far has been Tyler Miller as he is the only one with a starting spot day one, but Marlon Hairston and Jacori Hayes have the potential to compete for spots in preseason. Miguel Ibarra will certainly be missed by fans, but a return is not completely out of the picture with Minnesota still searching for their new attacker.
Should Minnesota replace Quintero successfully and add depth in the back, a playoff spot looks to be within reach. Loons fans are certainly hoping to progress further into the playoffs than last year, but the roster needs a little more tooling before the season kicks off to achieve that.