FiftyFive.One reached assistant coach Ian Fuller by phone to talk about the signing, since he was the primary scout on the ground in Cameroon. Fuller had traveled to Cameroon just after the 2017 season and watched Pangop playing with the domestic national team (often African national teams have some camps and matches with only domestically-based players).
What he saw when he watched Pangop play was “a really attacking minded player with a really good understanding of the game. He’s a wide player who comes in from the line to play. I was amazed at tactically gifted he was.” Fuller describes Pangop as a welcome addition of athleticism and goal-scoring.
Tactically, the most natural assumption is that the right-footed Pangop will play on the left, but drift inward. Fuller acknowledges that Minnesota already has a glut of such players with Ibarra, Nicholson, Leiton, and Molino able to play out left. However, he says “that’s a good problem for Adrian [Heath] to have.”
When he met Pangop in Cameroon, the first question the player asked him was “Is it cold in Minnesota?” Fuller explains that Pangop didn’t have too much knowledge about MLS or Minnesota beyond what a few other Cameroonians in MLS have told him. And Fuller says he told Pangop that “You play in the summer, so there’s nothing to worry about.”
We reached Fuller as he was on his way to the MLS Caribbean Combine in Fort Lauderdale. He will then head up to Orlando for the regular MLS Combine, where he and the rest of the technical staff will be preparing for the January 19th SuperDraft.
Minnesota United has the 5th and 25th overall picks in the draft and Fuller says he’s looking forward to it [EDIT: article originally mistakenly said MNUFC had the 7th pick]. “I think there are quite a few prospects that are exciting. Even down to our 25th pick. If you look through the history of the top ten there are some players that end up doing really well” and he pointed to last year’s 7th overall pick, Julian Gressel who won Rookie of the Year.
Pangop’s signing comes at a time when fans had been clamoring for more announcements. CEO Chris Wright acknowledged as much when he spoke to the Dark Clouds Supporters Summit on Monday night and promised signings. He included the tidbit that today’s signing would be followed in a couple of weeks by a fellow Cameroonian international.
Pangop recently began playing for the Cameroonian national team, including scoring a late goal against Algeria in an October World Cup Qualifier. Check out that goal and a few Cameroonian hip hop beats below.
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