Cronin and Burch Join Minnesota United in Blockbuster Deal

by on 31 March 2017

In a move designed to strengthen its spine, Minnesota United is completing a big trade swapping two players with the Colorado Rapids. The Loons have offered up Mohammed Saeid and Josh Gatt for Sam Cronin and Marc Burch.

The shake-up will bring in MLS experience to a Loons squad lacking just that. At 30, Sam Cronin has 222 MLS starts since joining the league in 2009. The defensive midfielder has logged nearly 20,000 league minutes since then, having helped anchor San Jose and Colorado to deep post-season runs. Individually, Cronin was an MLS All-Star in 2015. He won the Supporters’ Shield with San Jose in 2012, and earned two caps with the USMNT in 2009.

Cronin was the captain of Colorado for much of 2015 and all of 2016/17. It’s possible that he’ll inherit the armband in Minnesota, as well.

Burch is a veteran of the league as well. Since joining MLS in 2006, the 32-year-old has made 172 starts with five MLS sides. He started 27 matches at left back with Colorado in its 2016 campaign, helping anchor one of the stingiest defenses in recent league history. While known for a defense-first playing style, Burch can also deliver a dangerous cross.

Saeid was selected by Minnesota in the Expansion Draft this December. The midfielder made three starts in the club’s first four matches but was cycled for time with Rasmus Schüller and Ibson. Collin Martin’s strong Loons debut this past weekend only made the center-midfield depth chart more muddled. Trading Saeid also opens up an international spot for Minnesota.

Gatt, meanwhile, was signed towards the end of the preseason. He never saw the field in the MNUFC’s opening four matches. His adjustment period coming to Minnesota wasn’t smooth, as Gatt failed to get minutes even during Minnesota’s minor selection crisis last weekend due to international call-ups and a suspension. The 25-year-old winger previously played for c in Norway’s Tippeligaen.


Minnesota United is expected to continue making trades within the league as it seeks to turn around its historically-bad start this season. Freeing up an international spot gives the team a wider pool of players from which to draw in seeking further reinforcement. Meanwhile, MNUFC’s senior roster is full, and it will need to offload as many players as it takes on in any future deal. Check back to this space for more updates and reactions throughout the day.

Update: 12:01 p.m. CDT

Minnesota United will not be sending any allocation money to Colorado in this deal. According to sources, the Loons have plenty of allocation funds to work with. However, it’s more likely that these funds will be used to try and secure a Designated Player or another player from within the league.

Wes Burdine contributed to this report.

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