Minnesota United was officially announced as the latest addition to MLS on Friday, August 19. It was an announcement only slightly diminished by a conflict with the kick-off of the New York Red Bulls II's top-of-the-table match against Louisville City FC.
Despite MLS Commissioner Don Garber reportedly giving his voice to his most bizarre fantasies...
"On the behalf of all the owners of soccer, I want to say thank you and welcome to Major League Soccer." - @thesoccerdon— Minnesota United FC (@MNUnitedFC) August 19, 2016
...the announcement went off smoothly. Minnesota will join the league in 2017; nothing much else to say about it. The possibility that Don G has fallen victim to a defective spam filter and fallen for some email scam that has him imagining he's consorting with "the owners of soccer" ["And we just need YOUR help in getting millions upon millions of dollars transferred to US bank accounts"] is a concern for another day.
MLS will greet two new teams in 2017: the Uniteds of Atlanta and Minnesota. Good times.
From the perspective of the New York Red Bulls there is just one lingering concern about the new arrivals: expansion teams traditionally get an Expansion Draft.
No announcement has yet been made, but a report on mlssoccer.com notes Minnesota United expects an Expansion Draft to be part of its roster-building in the off-season.
That will mean RBNY Sporting Director Ali Curtis will have his squad-building plans complicated by the chance he might lose one or two players to the new teams in the league. In the recent past, the Red Bulls have limited their exposure to the Expansion Draft by executing trades in advance that brought a measure of protection. Most notably and recently, the trade that sent Ryan Meara on loan to New York City FC in exchange for Sal Zizzo - a NYCFC Expansion Draft pick - at the end of 2014.
With both Meara and Zizzo on the Red Bulls' roster in 2016, and a Supporters' Shield won in the aftermath of the trade - it seems fair to say RBNY got the better of that deal. Curtis, no stranger to smart moves in the MLS trade market, will be expected to work some similar magic to at least keep his roster from suffering too much at the hands of the latest round of MLS expansion.