Minnesota United roster analysis: Decisions about players must be made

Minnesota United's next general manager and head coach will inherit a roster of puzzle pieces assembled by fired predecessors Adrian Heath and technical director Mark Watson.

Several are foundational commitments signed through 2025 or 2026, to contracts as large as newcomer Teemu Pukki's $3.55 million salary and star midfielder Emanuel Reynoso $2.15 million this season. Others are decisions needed on players with expiring contracts such as right back DJ Taylor or with team options.

Some are seemingly simple, such as keeping improving 22-year-old Joseph Rosales and fellow Honduran Kervin Arriaga. Some could take some thought on veterans Michael Boxall, Wil Trapp and Ján Greguš, depending on roster fit and cost.

Here's a look at that roster:


Teemu Pukki

Center forward, age 33

Country: Finland

Contract expires: June 30, 2025

Signed as a designated player to score, he delivered 10 goals in 14 games — four of them in one game — despite a slow start when he went eight consecutive games without one.

Bongokuhle Hlongwane

Right-wing attacker, age 33

Country: South Africa

Contract expires: Dec. 31, 2024 (team option for 2025)

He became a breakout star by scoring two goals each in three consecutive Leagues Cup games, but he didn't score in final five regular-season games on his way back from a knee injury.

Sang Bin Jeong

Center forward, age 21

Country: South Korea

Contract expires: Dec. 31, 2025 (club option for 2026)

He played less and less as season progressed, scored once in 23 appearances, nine of them starts most early on.

Franco Fragapane

Left wing, age 30

Country: Argentina

Contract expires: Dec. 31, 2024

He played a lesser role in 2023, scoring one goal in 24 appearances — 14 of them starts —during a year when he missed a month midseason.

Don't forget: Designated Player Mender García, the Colombian striker is waiting to break through like Hlongwane has.


Emanuel Reynoso

Attacking midfielder, age 27

Country: Argentina

Contract expires: Dec. 31, 2025 (team option for 2026)

Heath and Watson did so much to get him here, as a designated player signed through 2026. Reynoso calls himself committed to the club and new management. "I have lots of desire to continue," he said in Spanish translated. "I'm very content and satisfied with what the club is doing. Let's keep moving forward."

Robin Lod

Midfielder and attacker, age 30

Country: Finland

Contract expires: Dec. 31, 2025 (team option for 2026)

Versatile veteran had May surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee. He was ahead of schedule late this season for a return starting next season. He's Pukki's Finland national teammate.

Caden Clark

Attacking midfielder, age 20

Hometown: Medina, Minn.

Contract expires: June 30, 2025

Last big move made by Heath and Watson to bring a young, gifted player back home to Minnesota starting next season. He's on loan from RB Leipzig to a Denmark second-division team until then.

Hassani Dotson

Midfielder, age 26

Hometown: Federal Way, Wash.

Contract expires Dec. 2024 (team option for 2025)

Heath often called him the team's best player late in a season when he moved up and played a left-side attacking role.

Joseph Rosales

Central midfielder, age 22

Country: Honduras

Contract expires: Dec. 31, 2023 (team options 2024 and 2025)

He showed his versatility and growth by playing anywhere from left back to left-side attacker until a hamstring injury sidelined him late in season.

Kervin Arriaga

Midfielder, age 25

Country: Honduras

Contract expires: Dec. 31, 2023 (team option for 2024)

His season-ending knee surgery in early August wasn't season-ending at all. He was back by late September and could take over at defensive midfield in 2024.

Will they return?

• Captain Wil Trapp's contract expires at a position where the club has other options. "I would love to," he said when asked if he expects to be back

• The Loons brought back Ján Greguš when Arriaga was injured, and Greguš started 10 of the 12 games he played. The team has an option for Greguš but the midfield already is full.


Micky Tapias

Left center back, age 26

Country: Mexico

Contract expires: Dec. 31, 2025 (team option for 2026)

He played 32 of 34 games this season — and started all 32 after Heath & Co. discovered him in a 2019 friendly against Tapias' Pachuca club team.

Michael Boxall

Center back, age 35

Country: New Zealand

Contract expires: Dec. 31, 2023

A Loon since their inaugural MLS season in 2017, Boxall has a contract expiring at year's end, and he wants to return. "I'm not too worried," he said. "I'm a one-day-at-a-time guy and everything else will take care of itself down the road."

Ethan Bristow

Left back, age 21

Country: England

Contract expires: Dec. 31, 2025

He started six of nine games soon after arriving from England's second division but made some costly mistakes.

Gone? The new guys all will decide the futures of veterans Bakaye Dibassy, Zarek Valentine, Brent Kallman as well as DJ Taylor and Devin Padelford.


Dayne St. Clair

Age 26

Country: Canada

Contract expires: Dec. 31, 2024 (team option for 2025)

Just finished his fifth MLS season and still approaching his prime, he started 30 MLS games and all five Leagues Cup games. Add a couple CONCACAF Gold Cup games he started for Canada, too.

Veteran backup Clint Irwin is signed through 2024 with a team option.