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Meet the New Faces in the Flock

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Across Major League Soccer, big names have swapped colors, new faces have come into the fold, and the face of the league has changed drastically. Here in Minnesota, the Loons are no exception to this trend of change, with additions on and off the pitch coming together to revamp the club’s strategy and makeup. It’s still too early to determine how all of these pieces will fit together, but one thing is certain: these aren’t the Loons you’re used to. 

With less than two weeks separating us from the start of the 2024 MLS season, there’s no better time than the present to meet your newest Loons. From front to back, the depth chart has added several names this offseason, all of which will have important roles to play in what the club hopes will be a resurgent 2024 campaign. 


Let’s start in the back. The club has signed two defenders this offseason, one fullback and one center back. Both players present unique additions to the talent pool, taking drastically different paths to Minnesota. 

First, the Swedish Viking: Victor Eriksson. The 23-year-old center back joins the Loons after spending his entire professional career with his hometown club, Värnamo. He joined the club in the third division of Swedish football during the 2019 season, eventually helping them to two straight promotions in 2020 and 2021, taking the club to the first division for the first time in their history. 

On the field, Eriksson’s size makes him an aerial threat, coming in at an impressive 6’4”. New Sporting Director Khaled El-Ahmad brought him to the club’s attention, citing his efficient ball-winning and ability to stop counter-attacks in a pressing system as key reasons to bring him on board. Though still young, Eriksson brings valuable skills to the squad that will complement his fellow defenders. 

On the right, the Loons have added Derek Dodson from the USL’s Charleston Battery. While he played as a forward in college and was drafted as one by NYCFC in the 2021 SuperDraft, a switch to fullback not only saw him earn significant minutes but also excel in the opportunities he was given. 

After flagging Dodson as one to watch during the 2022 season, the club has been monitoring his progress for the better part of a year. His goals-added-per-90 numbers are outstanding for an outside back, and while USL numbers don’t translate perfectly to MLS, the skillset he brings remains impressive. An athletic runner with the foot skills of a forward, he’s able to get forward and defend well in a high-press. Should the Loons decide to utilize a formation with wingbacks, expect to see Dodson get a shot. 

SuperDraftees Morris Duggan and Hugo Bacharach have yet to officially sign contracts. Pending those deals, they would add valuable depth to the club’s center-back pool, alongside Eriksson, Michael Boxall, and Miguel Tapias. Bacharach spent some time in midfield as well while at Indiana University, offering valuable flexibility should he be needed further up the pitch. 

Both draftees will occupy international roster slots, making their contract negotiations slightly more complex than those of their domestic counterparts. Updates on both players will be released as soon as they’re available.

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Three midfielders have officially joined the squad this offseason, all of whom are 23 or younger. El-Ahmad has emphasized getting younger since arriving in Minnesota, and this offseason’s signings are proving that he means it. 

The club’s first midfield acquisition was Alejandro Bran, a Costa Rican international on loan from CS Herediano. There is a buy option included in the deal, so should Bran prove himself, there’s a chance he’ll join the squad on a permanent basis. 

With experience playing as both a holding midfielder and along the left flank, Bran brings energy and intensity to the lineup. He’s proven to be a high-output presser, creating opportunities to attack by winning the ball with fearless tackles. His debut in Tucson against Montréal was promising, reinforcing the traits that put him on the club’s radar to begin with. 

For their second midfield signing of the window, MNUFC once again dipped into the USL talent pool. Panamanian international Carlos Harvey joins the club after winning the 2023 USL Championship title with Phoenix Rising, standing out as one of the side’s most talented players, if not their best. At just 24 years old, he’s entering the prime of his career and has a chance to make an impact on the Loons’ midfield this season. 

While Harvey is more of an eight than a six, his ability to play box-to-box makes him a valuable piece in any midfield lucky enough to have him. He brings a dynamic presence to the middle of the park, with the best ball progression stats in all of USL last season. Not only can he win the ball, he can make something happen once he has it. 

Youngster Moses Nyeman rounds out the midfield group, and his story alone makes him an intriguing addition. At just 20 years old, Nyeman has already been a professional player for nearly five years. He signed with D.C. United at just 15 years old, second only to Freddy Adu as the club’s youngest-ever signing. After some experience across the pond in Europe and some time spent around the US, Nyeman finds himself back in MLS, this time in Black and Blue. 

Like the other two midfield signings this window, Nyeman can play as a holding midfielder, but he doesn’t fit the mold of a traditional six. He operates as a playmaker more than a ball-winner, though he’s got it in his locker to do both. He’s good with the ball at his feet, and both willing and able to cover plenty of ground to get in the right position. This kid has all of the pieces to succeed; it’s only a matter of time before he puts them together.


Up top, one forward joins the fold. 22-year-old Jordan Adebayo-Smith is fresh off a 12-goal season for New England Revolution II in MLS NEXT Pro during 2023, generating the best goals-added-per-90 stats in the league. His value off the ball rivals his goal-scoring ability, as he is able to get himself into dangerous positions and utilize his elite athleticism to get the better of his opponents. 

Adebayo-Smith creates a ton of chances; the next step in his development will be finishing those chances and improving his already impressive output. He’s not played in a pressing system during his young career, but with his speed and workrate, he has what it takes to put pressure on the opposition while the Loons defend, then sit on the shoulder of the backline to make incisive runs behind. 

In addition to the aforementioned signings, MNUFC secured the rights to West Virginia forward Marcus Caldeira and Wake Forest midfielder Babacar Niang via the SuperDraft, but both players will be returning to college before joining the Loons in the future. While this pair of draftees won’t be around for the bulk of the season, they’ll likely be joining the squad for a brief trial period in the spring. 

While many of the nailed-on starters from last season are returning to Allianz Field this year, there is plenty of new blood available for selection. Fans should expect more than one of these new faces to feature prominently as the season progresses, though it’s still too early to say exactly who that might be. The Loons will be in preseason action at the Coachella Valley Invitational on Wednesday, February 14, and Saturday, February 17. Streaming for both matches is available exclusively on Be sure to tune in for your first look at these new Loons and get a sneak peak at how the Black and Blue are looking ahead of the season opener on February 24.