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Loon Landings: January News

Re-Entry Draft, Free agent signing, and Friendlies

October 23, 2021 - Saint Paul, Minnesota, United States - A supporter waves a flag in The Wonder wall during the Minnesota United vs Los Angeles FC match at Allianz Field. (Photo by Seth Steffenhagen/Steffenhagen Photography)

We are just over a week into 2022 and we have a good chunk of news for you as we get ever so close to the beginning of the 2022 MLS Pre-Season.

MLS Re-Entry Draft

Minnesota United had a few changes happen to them during and just after the 2021 MLS re-Entry draft. San Jose Earthquakes picked up Ján Greguš with the seventh pick in the second phase of the draft. The Loons would pick up former Columbus Crew goalkeeper Eric Dick with the 16th pick in the second phase. Shortly after the draft Minnesota’s expansion partner from 2017, Atlanta United, picked up Ozzie Alonso on a one year contract.

Loons selection Eric Dick has made one appearance in Major League Soccer, that being back in 2019 for Sporting Kansas City. In his lone MLS appearance he gave up six goals over a 90 minute match and made just three saves on nine total shots on target against FC Dallas.

Free Agent News

Just a few days ago MNUFC have signed Bongokuhle Hlongwane from DStv Premiership side Maritzburg United. The South African international forward has signed a three year contract with the Loons as the club’s first ever MLS U22 initiative signing.

“The one thing we’ve spoken about is getting someone with game-changing pace on this roster,” said MNUFC Head Coach Adrian Heath. “He has absolutely explosive pace, but he also looks to combine and build with his teammates. We love his raw talents, but his football IQ is exceptional. Ask any defender what scares them and who the hardest players to mark are and inevitably its someone with intelligent movement and pace and we feel he possesses both of these qualities. He’s got huge upside; he’s now broken into the South African national team and we’ve spoken to his national team coach and he says it’s only the tip of the iceberg for what’s to come. He will be a work in progress for the club, but his physical attributes, his raw talent and football intelligence are impressive. We’re pleased to sign him, we know there was competition to get him and so we are pleased he’s a Loon.”

In the past few days it has also been reported by the Pioneer Press’ Andy Greder that Brent Kallman will return to the club under a new contract.

International Club Friendlies Return in 2022

After two seasons without any international club friendlies played in the Twin Cities, that is set to return in the summer of 2022. 2. Bundesliga club SC Paderborn 07 will head from Germany to the US to face Minnesota United at Allianz Field on Saturday, June 11th with a 7 PM kickoff time. At the German winter break, Paderborn currently sit in 9th place out of 18 in the league with a record of 7-6-5 with 27 points through 18 matches. The 2. Bundesliga table as of this writing is topped by FC St. Pauli (1st place, 36 points), SV Darmstadt 98 (2nd place, 35 points), and Hamburger SV (3rd place, 30 points).