Rome wasn't built in a day, and neither was a MLS roster. And while not every signing is gonna be a starter, sometimes that's the point. Squad depth is equally important for teams looking for sustained success. For now, even despite their recent succss, the Loons should be looking to stockpile talent for both starting and depth purposes, and while this article doesn't distinguish between the two, the targets being talked about might be worth a roster spot, or at least an extended look, even if you haven't heard their names mentioned to this point.
This is easily the most recognizable name on the list, as long as you follow the USMNT along with MNUFC. While the current tandem of midfielders the Loons have employed, has been playing well, neither are young men (in soccer years) anymore and without suitable reinforcements and appropriate rest we could see Ibson and Cronin fade come fall. Morales, a holding midfielder, currently plays in his home country of Germany for Ingolstadt FC. However, as of this weekend, Ingolstadt is in the danger zone, in what has become a fairly lively relegation battle in Bundesliga 1. The 26 year old is a regular in the Ingolstadt squad and has made an additional 13 appearances for the national team. His contract won't be running out soon, but if Ingolstadt do get demoted, it could represent an interesting opportunity for an ambitious MLS side to steal him away.
Perhaps the most interesting prospect on the list is the USL central defender. After a couple years of growth, it was his third year with the Richmond Kickers that saw the 6'4" Roberts breakout into one of the best USL defenders. Roberts was a 2016 USL All-League First Team selection, and a finalist for Defender of the Year. He also played every minute of the season, a feat only two players accomplished. Yet, despite all the minutes he played, the current Bethlehem Steel defender only recorded a single yellow card over the course of 75 regular season appearances. The 24 year old defender, is tall, rangy, quick, and disciplined, and he's esstenially conquered the USL. With Calvo expected to miss time on international duty, central defence should be at the top of the loons shopping list this summer, and a USL star looking for an opportunity to prove he's got what it takes to be an MLS defender might be a better option for MNUFC, just ask Brent Kallman.
During 2012-2013 season Packwood was one of Birmingham City's most exciting young players, but in a January tilt against Leeds United he suffered a horrible tib-fib farcture and he missed 8 months recovering. Despite a few successful loan spells after the fact, he couldn't convince a new manager to get him on the field and his time at the english side concluded. He trialed with the New England Revolution, but was never extended a contract. And has struggled to gain footing since. Technically, he's unattached, so MNUFC could trial and sign him anytime. So the fact he hasn't gained any attention recently isn't a good sign. Yet, he grew up in an english academy system and gained significant first team minutes, is only 23 years old, and plays a position of need for the Loons. Whether or not Packwood can revive his career, remains to be seen, but the Loons could do far worse.
Another youth national team player, the IMG academy product is currently playing for Atletico Levante UD's B side, in the spanish third division. After playing for Tab Ramos at the U20 2015 World Cup with the likes of Cameron Carter-Vickers, Matt Miazga, and Emerson Hyndman (Desavio Payne also played on that same team), the 20 year old fullback has had on a strange journey in europe. Initially signing with Huracan Valencia, the club came under fire after it was reported it wasn't paying some of its players. Moore moved on from the troubled club and found refuge at Real Oviedo's B squad for a short spell, before Levante picked him up. Yet his contract is set to expire, and he has yet to break into Levante's senior team. After a bit of an ill fated adventure in Europe, it might be time to come home to the states, and jump start his career among more familiar settings. Despite the impact of the Loons recent fullback aquisitions (Theisson, and Burch), MNUFC might want to be proactive, especially when former youth national team players are available at key positions.
Another USL standout, the Columbian born, US raised midfielder is off to a blistering start for Sacremento Rebuplic FC (most chances created of any USL player so far this season). An All USL First Team selection from 2016, who played at three different US youth national team levels, Barrera could be the perfect fit for the MNUFC. Johan Venegas isn't a true number 10, and without a player confident in possesion or a sense of vision going forward, the Loons at times have had trouble linking their wingers and striker together. Barrera is all of those things, great in tight spaces and wildly ambitious shooting from range. The 27 year old's availability might be linked to Sacremento's MLS expansion fate, but if the west coast USL side end up on the outside looking in, it might be the best time to snag Barrera. And though their paths likely didn't cross, Barrera and Jome both played at UC Santa Barbara.
The former PDL MVP and current winger at San Antonio FC, has been one of the best USL midfielders for several years. The 25 year old came to San Antonio on a one year deal and could be interesting target for MNUFC. Kadrii's loan will eventually end, and though he's not a regular for the Loons, a suitable replacement should be sought out. The creative winger has had long standing success in the USL, and might be looking for a new challenge at a higher level given the fact he only committed to one year at San Antonio. Though he's technically not out of contract until Novemeber, if the the Loons feel strongly enough, a low risk, high reward, USL standout could be a quality signing.
He's not much of a target for the Loons, but the striker from Stade de Reims, is currently on loan at LB Chateauroux in the french third division and is lighting it up. We've made a big deal about Emerson Hyndman's successful loan at Rangers recently, but the 21 year old, born in the DC area is on fire in the french third tier. 9 goals in 13 starts, and 11 goals over all competitions. It's hard to see past Tim Weah and his success at PSG and as a US youth player, but Siebatcheu deserves a little love from Rob Ursy, Timm Higgins, and out friends at Stars and Stripes FC.
The 20 year old midfielder from Haiti, just concluded playing at the CONCACAF U20 Champioship. Playing professionally in France for the LB Chateauroux B squad, the midfielder impressed in his time on the Haitian youth team, scoring a tremendous individual effort. Though information on the youngster is difficult to find, the raw talent on tape at the tournament showed a confident young player waiting to be given an opportunity. What jumps out is his composure, his ambition both going forward and tracking back, and his stature. Not necessarily his height, but he looks like a fully grown adult, not some twiggy youth player. The sample size is too small, but if his performace this spring was any indication, MNUFC might want to go out on a limb on and look to snag a high ceiling project player.
3 Defenders, 4 Midfielders, and 1 Striker, including 3 USL players and 4 national and youth national team representatives. Not a bad spread, but if you have any other players you think are worth mentioning, or if any of these guys seem like silly transfer targets, sound off.