I recently pointed out the severe lack of goalkeeping options currently on Minnesota United’s roster (Maybe, in a pinch, Justin Davis can put on the gloves and man the net...). I decided to open up the floor and help be a part of the solution, rather than the problem.
I will start this examination by looking at some veteran options that the team should look at. My thoughts will be based on skill level, current contract options, and possible price point. Some names will be familiar, some will be less likely, some are just for fun. Hopefully, you will be able to tell who is who. Later, I will examine some of the options available in the SuperDraft.
United fans are very familiar with the Cameroonian International, Sammy Ndjock. The 26-year-old has been a Loons stalwart in net for the last couple seasons. Ndjock is a great story and from my experience at the games, the fans seemed to love him.
Left in Cameroon's capital city, Yaounde, as an infant with his uncle, Ndjock came from having no shoes to being the Loons consistent goalkeeping starter. A product of the Lille academy, Ndjock was shaky at times but was brilliant at other times.
(Obviously, we all remember his blunder against AFC Bournemouth this past summer, but he has a great sense of humor about it. Just Google his name, if you have no idea what I am talking about.)
In total, Sammy started a total of 51 games for the Loons in the 2015 and 2016 seasons totaling 17 clean sheets. From my view, I never saw Sammy as the long-term solution for the MLS roster, but I do think he could make a solid backup and spot starter.
Adam Larsen Kwarasey
Update: As one of our followers points out, Kwarasey has recently joined Brøndby. That eliminates him quickly. Thanks for killing my dream of a duo of Kwarasey and Ndjock, Brøndby.
This is another player that could be coming but recent reports are throwing this in doubt. Multiple* outlets, including one of our followers on Twitter, reported Adam Kwarasey was in Minneapolis this past December, adding fuel to the fire that the former Timbers GK was considering a move back to the states from Rosenborg.
The Norwegian-born, Ghanian international enjoyed the most success of his career as the stopper for the Timbers. He appeared 40 times for Portland, including 33 during their run to the MLS Cup.
The problem that this signing would cause is that Kwarasey had to pull out of the Ghana team for the African Cup of Nations 2017 because of injury. Some are saying that Kwarasey will need corrective surgery, while Kwarasey says that all he requires is some rest and training. If the injury is not as serious as it is rumored to be, Kwarasey would make a lot of sense for the Loons. (Injury or not, I think this signing should happen.)
Well, Brøndby took Kwarasey (see above), so I suggest FC Copenhagen GK and Swedish National Team Player, Robin Olsen. Olsen started his career with Malmö FF in the Allsvenskan, and has played in Greece and Denmark.
This would not be the flashiest signing by any means, but Olsen has over 140 club appearances to his name, and a handful of national caps. He stands at 6’6”, so he certainly would be a towering presence.
We know that Manny Lagos took in an FC Copenhagen match on his Scandinavian trip, so maybe this is not too speculative.
This would have to be a trade. The Maple Grove native trained with the Loons upon his return from England, and Manny Lagos chose not to give him a chance and he joined the New England Revolution instead.
The Revolution protected Cropper for the 2016 Expansion Draft, which is smart as it would have been likely to see either Atlanta of MNUFC snag him. The Bent Musket wrote about how they see Cody Cropper as a possible future star in the league, so this would be less and less likely with each passing day.
That being said, I think there is a chance that MNUFC can make a deal. The team holds multiple draft picks and the Loons selected Femi Hollinger-Janzen in the Expansion Draft. While I do not advocate trading any of the picks or Femi (because he also could be a star in the league), the team could swing a trade for him.
Would León be willing to give the Loons another one of their players? Especially, one that has been a great stopper for them? Probably not, but it is fun to think about. The 27-year-old USMNT player has quickly become a fan favorite at León, but given the right price, I think he would move to the States.
Yarbrough has started 91 games in his career León totaling 19 clean sheets. His recent seasons quickly garnered national team attention and he was invited to national team camp in Miami this past fall.
While, I do not see this signing happening (transfermarkt.com currently has his value €2 Million) watching a possibly USMNT’er in goal would be fun.
Yeah, this won’t be happening. Fun to think about, though, right??
Is there a goalkeeper out there, somewhere, that you would like? Feel free to tell us below!