Miguel Ibbara

Last summer, Miguel Ibarra was the opposition in a Minnesota United summer friendly. Photo by Jeremy Olsen - www.digitalgopher.com

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Minnesota United Trades Attinella to Portland; Signals Pursuit of Ibarra

by on 20 December 2016

Minnesota has traded goalkeeper Jeff Attinella to the Portland Timbers. In return, the Loons will acquire a second-round selection in the 2018 SuperDraft. Along with the pick, United will gain the discovery rights to former Loon Miguel Ibarra.

Minnesota United acquired Attinella in the fourth round of last Tuesday’s Expansion Draft. The former RSL man served as Nick Rimando’s primary backup from 2013-2016, starting 28 games along the way. FiftyFive.One first learned of the trade talks last Friday, and later in the day caught wind that the rights to Miguel Ibarra were part of the deal.

Minnesota’s announcement today neglected to mention Ibarra’s rights, but these are still part of the deal. Since the SuperDraft pick is a minor consideration, Ibarra’s rights here appear to be the largest prize. This makes it very likely that the Loons are serious in their pursuit of their former star.

Portland first acquired the rights to Ibarra in the lead-up to the 2016 MLS season, as the Timbers looked to bring the winger in on loan. However, the deal fell through and Ibarra stayed with Club Leon. Since his transfer from United to Leon in 2015, Ibarra has featured in just 8 matches. He has scored once for the Liga MX side.

United has plenty of time to acquire a starting goalkeeper before their inaugural MLS campaign. Players like Steve Clark and Zac MacMath are still readily available for acquisition. It’s likely that Manny Lagos, Amos Magee, and Adrian Heath have been scouting goalkeepers on their trips to Scandanavia, South America, and Costa Rica. While Attinella has long been seen as a potential starter, his lack of playing time made him far from a sure thing.

The future SuperDraft choice could be a valuable commodity in itself. United traded their third round selection for center back Joseph Greenspan earlier this month. Of course, the potential crown jewel of this return would be finalizing a deal with Ibarra. By acquiring his rights, United appears to be well on their way to bringing him back.

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  • Alex Schieferdecker

    This is one of those trades that’s only possible in the weird MLS ecosystem. But I rate it as a win-win.

    From Minnesota’s perspective, this is trading Attinella for Ibarra and a draft pick. There’s no way this trade goes through unless we’re certain that we can get Miguel. That’s a trade I think we’d all make any day of the week. Attinella is a good goalkeeper, but we can find other good goalkeepers. Ibarra is a potential game changer on the wing, and useful for the club’s marketing. The draft pick is whatever.

    From Portland, the deal obviously makes sense. They basically get a goalkeeper to challenge Gleeson for free. Fine for them. No risk, respectable reward.

    Win-win as I see it now, but whatever risk there is in this deal is on the Loons’ side.

  • Chris RB

    Hopefully MNU doesn’t make this trade if they aren’t darn sure they can get Ibarra… but if they don’t get Ibarra this is a dumb dumb deal. If they do get Ibarra it’s good.

    MLS is weird.

  • John Herman

    2nd round of the 2018 Superdraft, here we come!

    I do wonder how much the transfer fee will be. We got over $1,000,000 2 years ago in the sale, right?

    • Dave DuJour

      “approaching $1 million” is the phrase I’ve seen lately. So less than a full million probably.
      How much will Leon want to give him back? Hopefully not more since they’re not using him. He was a full-time starter and USMNT call up when he was sold. Now he’s…sitting on the bench. 🙁

      • John Herman

        🙁 for not playing but also 🙂 in the cold hard cash dept. We could end up with a pretty nice return on a 2-year loan if you want to think of it that way. As long as we get the same Ibarra back, which is the big question here anyway.

    • Brian Scott

      Well the “old” now defunct NASL team received a transfer and not the “new” MLS owned team.