The exact terms of the trade are still unclear at this point, but as part of the deal Portland would give Minnesota United the rights to sign Miguel Ibarra in MLS, which Portland hold from a discovery claim. The Timbers originally drafted Ibarra in 2012 and subsequently cut him from the roster. Amos Magee, who was then the Timbers’ assistant coach, brought him to the attention of Manny Lagos, who was at the time head coach of the Minnesota Stars, and Ibarra eventually signed for the Stars.
Almost immediately, Ibarra caught Minnesotan fans’ attention, but it wasn’t until the second half of the 2013 season that he began to light up the NASL. In 2014, Ibarra earned the NASL’s Golden Ball award and a call up to the US Men’s national team. His improbable rise makes him one of the most beloved players in Minnesota soccer history.
In 2015, Club León bought Ibarra from Minnesota United in a deal that came close to $1 million. Ibarra is under contract for another year, but has seen his time severely limited in the past six months. Before the 2016 season, Portland attempted to sign Ibarra from León on loan, but the deal fell through.
Minnesota getting hold of Ibarra’s rights in MLS may not lead to the winger’s return, but it could also be the first step in bringing “Batman” back.
Wes Burdine contributed to the reporting.