At some point, I knew it was going to happen.
It’s one of the difficulties of Minnesota United having so many classy players. When one club has the likes of Jerome Thiesson, Ethan Finlay, Francisco Calvo, and so, so many others, one of them was bound to leave at some point. Sam Nicholson happened to be the one to depart.
His arrival was much-rumored and long-awaited last summer, though he struggled with fitness concerns and never really played at his best last season. There were flashes though, like this stunner against the Houston Dynamo in September.
Beau-Ti-Ful #HOUvMIN | 2-1 pic.twitter.com/FFeY2QsA9M— Minnesota United FC (@MNUFC) October 1, 2017
Nicholson was unlucky to play left winger, along with approximately half of United’s roster. He had told me at the start of this season that it would be difficult for him to win and maintain a spot in the starting eleven. If he had been the starter in a different area of the pitch, I have to think that this trade wouldn’t have happened.
This move may not hurt the Loons much on the field. There are plenty of other options, including the essentially never-seen-before Frantz Pangop. But it will have an effect on the locker room.
As can be expected of a young Scot, Nicholson was very much the life of the party. His energy was infectious and he certainly loved a good laugh. He and Harrison Heath had grown close this year, competing in the team’s footvolley competitions. The two’s antics in the locker room after the home opening victory of the Chicago Fire perfectly showcased their senses of humor.
From what I have heard from the Colorado Rapids’ fanbase and media, Nicholson will have to fight for a starting spot there as well.
And look, I understand this move. Eric Miller is a dream from a PR perspective. He’s a Minnesotan who is engaged to another Minnesotan (Kassey Kallman), who is an NWSL player and the sister of one of his new teammates. And he can contribute on the field as well.
It’s too bad that we had to see Sam Nicholson go like this. Even though soccer is, at the end of the day, about winning and making money, that’s small consolation. I hope for the best for Nicholson, so long as he doesn’t score on the Loons in future meetings. And hopefully Miller can have an impact...