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Minnesota United signs Justin Davis and Kevin Venegas as First MLS Players

by on 1 December 2016

Minnesota United took another step toward their MLS debut on Thursday, announcing long-time NASL Loons Justin Davis and Kevin Venegas had signed contracts. Per club and MLS policy, terms of contract were not disclosed.

The news has been expected for a few weeks, as FiftyFive.One reported their expected announcement on November 4. It continues a busy week in team activity, with head coach Adrian Heath announced on Tuesday. Earlier today, the Loons confirmed they’d take place in another preseason tournament in Portland, OR.

Davis and Venegas are both dual-threat players, able to press forward in attack as well as defend against opposing wingers. These types of players tend to thrive in an Adrian Heath system, as Heath employs full backs for overlapping runs and consistent movement. You can find a full analysis of Heath’s coaching style here.

Davis joined Minnesota in 2011, completing a transition from being a forward to slotting in as the regular left back. He’s United’s all-time leader in minutes played and was a three-time NASL Best XI honoree. Left back is perennially one of the weakest positions in the US player pool; it’s safe to expect Davis to be the regular starter in MLS.

Venegas, meanwhile, has been with Minnesota since 2012. He scored that season’s NASL Goal of the Year and is known more for his attacking prowess than his defending. That said, he’s developed quite a bit over his five seasons with Minnesota and was a 2015 NASL Best XI member. He led the NASL in assists with 6 during the Spring Season.

With two players in the fold, United will continue to build their roster. The club anticipates having 28 players signed before their January training camp. This promises to be an exciting couple of months in club history.

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Who do you want to see United sign next? Thoughts on Davis and Venegas? Sound off in the comments section below!

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