Thu. Sep 21st, 2023

Image: @MiiguelTapias10/Twitter

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Minnesota United presumably has a new starting center back, and a young one too! But when can he join the team?

Tom Bogert of reported last week that Minnesota United have come to terms with Liga MX’s Pachuca for CB Miguel Tapias. The 26-year old’s contract with his current club ends over the Summer following their 2022/23 Clausura campaign, and as of now that’s the soonest he can join the Loons.

However, Bogert also noted MNUFC are continually working to buy out the rest of of the left-footed defender’s deal, so he can fill a much-needed void for the club ahead of the 2023 season.

Adrian Heath confirmed both reports during media availability on Monday, also mentioning Technical Director Mark Watson is in Mexico meeting with Pachuca in person to get a deal done to get Tapias on the squad before the February 25th opener in Dallas.

Image courtesy @MiguelTapias10/Twitter

Last Wednesday, Mexican reporter Raul Gomez tweeted a deal has indeed been reached to cancel the remainder of Tapias’ contract, and he could make the trip north as early as mid-February, but Heath didn’t confirm this was over the line on Monday.

While we’re still waiting on a confirmation, it’s important to note how massive it would be for Tapias, one of the highest rated defenders in Liga MX in blocked shots (93rd percentile) and clearances (89th percentile), to be starting alongside Michael Boxall by season’s start.

Bakaye Dibassy, who missed the final month of last season after rupturing his quadricep tendon August 27th, still appears to be far off from returning to the pitch. Heath stated it’s likely to be “weeks instead of months” before the Frenchman is fit enough to play.

Without Dibassy or Tapias, Adrian Heath is looking at longtime Loon Brent Kallman, MLS veteran Doneil Henry, and young Swede Mikael Marques as starting options. While you have known commodities in Kallman and Henry, many would agree both fit this squad best as depth options. As far as Marques, there’s a lot TBD on the 21-year old.

Furthermore, even if Dibassy heals sooner rather than later, there’s no guarantee the Frenchman returns as the impact player he was prior to the injury.

This is all to say, getting Tapias on the roster now, as opposed to patchworking for half the season, could very well be the difference between making the playoffs comfortably and missing out completely.

Fortunately, it looks as if the Loons’ brass understands the assignment and are doing everything they can to make it happen.

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