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Minnesota United CEO Chris Wright tells fans to be patient in team’s ‘build’

July 15, 2018

Each year in MLS so far, Minnesota United has conducted town hall teleconferences with season-ticket holders.

Last years version featured former team president Nick Rogers affirming the first two seasons before United opens Allianz Field were not a soft launch in any way, shape or form.

But CEO Chris Wright, who joined the team this past October, acknowledged in Fridays call the club has been working toward that stadium opening for next season.

Were in a build toward the opening of Allianz Field, Wright said. Do we want to be in the playoffs this year? Yes. Are we going to strive to get more points? Absolutely we are.

But there is a build going on here that we would just ask our fans just to understand and be patient a little bit.

Understand the vision for the team knowing that we are bringing some players on board that we really believe will be a significant piece of this franchise when we play in Allianz Field.

That St. Paul stadium is 64 percent complete, Wright said during the call. He also said more than 1,000 people are on the waiting list for the clubs 14,500 season tickets, and he anticipates selling out all 17 home games at Allianz Field in 2019.

Wright said he is hoping for a good send-off to TCF Bank Stadium, though, as the club is aiming for about 50,000 fans at the final home game Oct. 21 against the Los Angeles Galaxy, which would break the attendance record for a soccer game in Minnesota including a local team. The Minnesota Kicks drew about 46,000 in 1976 for a game featuring Pele as an opponent.

Wright also outlines three possible options for a reserve team, which he said earlier this year was more likely to start in 2020, though 2019 could still be an option. He said the club could start its own United Soccer League team in Blaine to play at its current training ground, the National Sports Center.

The club also could enter into an affiliate agreement with a USL team, as there are several cities in the Upper Midwest region that want a team.

Or the club could choose a city, negotiate a deal around a smaller stadium, find local partners, and co-own a team where United manages the soccer operations.

Sporting Director Manny Lagos also was on the call and shared his thoughts on finding a true No. 6 defensive midfielder, which the team has lacked with Sam Cronins injury.

He said the club has not found the right player that would be a good investment for the future in this current transfer window, but it has looked for more than a year and had some deals fall through for various reasons.

Lagos also said while starting a scouting network is still in the beginning stages, there are several countries where the club has built partnerships: Spain, the Netherlands, Belgium, France, England, and somewhat Italy in Europe; Paraguay, Uruguay, Colombia, Argentina, Costa Rica, Venezuela, Chile and Peru in Central and South America; Ghana and Nigeria in Africa, and Japan, China and somewhat Russia in Asia.

New Loons update

Lagos said new signings Romario Ibarra and Angelo Rodriguez should join the team soon.

Ibarra is set to arrive in the U.S. on Sunday.

Rodriguez has his visa appointment and will likely arrive late this week or early next week.

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