Minnesota United: What Eric Ramsay’s role will be in summer transfer window

With 20 points through 10 matches, Minnesota United is off to its best start since it joined MLS eight seasons ago.

And two months from now, the Loons will have a prime chance to upgrade their roster via the summer transfer window (July 18-Aug. 14).

This will be the first full opportunity for new Chief Soccer Officer Khaled El-Ahmad and new head coach Eric Ramsay to bring in players who fit their mission.

With still-absent midfielder Emanuel Reynoso potentially being offloaded in a trade or transfer this summer, the Loons could use another high-end attacker capable of being an “X” factor and push the club on to the MLS Cup Playoffs. The Loons’ current 2.0 points per game mark is tops in the Western Conference.

MNUFC also will be looking to gradually get younger this summer and next offseason, but will still work to maintain the strong and veteran-led team chemistry that has aided their 6-2-2 start.

Ramsay told the Pioneer Press last week he will “definitely feed into the (transfer) process,” but he will be more of a “cog in that wheel” — not a driver on the club’s decisions.

“It’s always the conditions on which I wanted to be here,” Ramsay said on May 1. “Whereby that is largely taken care of by Khaled and the recruitment department we have in place here. So I’m in full trust of the fact that the work bubbling away behind the scenes will bear fruit in this window coming and the windows beyond that.”

Ramsay said his current role in the organization is the “most healthy balance a club can strike.” Over the past few years, former manager Adrian Heath had consolidated roles as both coach and chief decision-maker on the roster until he was fired last October.

These separated job responsibilities give Ramsay the chance to focus on what he wants most.

“That sort of allows me to crack on with what I do day-to-day and work with the group,” Ramsay continued. “And ultimately, that’s how I see myself. That’s what I’ve always been — a coach. I want to be on the grass with players. I want to develop the group that we’ve got. I want to work with young players and move them on.”

Praise and a slight

Ramsay’s team has climbed the MLS standings due, in part, to formational and tactical wrinkles in each game. In the 2-1 win over Atlanta on Saturday, MNUFC used a 5-4-1 defensive set-up, which also had center back Kervin Arriaga leave the back line and join the midfield when starting possessions. commentator Matt Doyle said in the Extra Time podcast this week: “It’s a weird and fun and difficult-to-track formation that allows (Minnesota) to do some stuff tactically that we are not seeing from anybody else in the league.”

Loons goalkeeper Dayne St. Clair on Thursday contrasted it to previous seasons under Heath.

“Eric is … putting us in the best situation to excel against that particular opponent,” St. Clair shared. “I think that is the beauty of things because it’s kind of like years past where it’s hard to scout us when we don’t know what we are doing.”


Without a game this weekend, MNUFC players had time off through Wednesday, and striker Teemu Pukki was given a little extra time to spend with his family in Finland. … Hassani Dotson (leg) was running on the side during Thursday’s training session. “He’s getting there probably not as quickly as we would have thought nor liked,” Ramsay said. “I think his return to training is right around the corner. We’ll see how that leaves him for next weekend.” That appears to rule him out for next Wednesday’s home game vs. L.A. Galaxy. The Loons host Portland Timbers in St. Paul on May 18. … Wil Trapp has had a “routine injection” and used the off weekend to do it now. Ramsay anticipated Trapp would be back in training sessions over the next few days. … Robin Lod returned to training Thursday after being subbed out for precaution at halftime of the Atlanta win Saturday.

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