Minnesota United has traded its first round 2016 Expansion Draft selection Chris Duvall and general allocation money to the Montreal Impact for midfielder Johan Venegas, adding international experience to the squad ahead of its 2017 inaugural season in Major League Soccer.
“I like his natural ability, his work rate, his energy and enthusiasm – he showed everything that we like against the U.S. only a month ago, I tried to get him for the last two years even when I was in Orlando but we couldn’t get him,” said Minnesota United Head Coach Adrian Heath. “When I first got here, he was one of the things we spoke about and fortunately, we’ve managed to come up with a deal.”
The Costa Rican midfielder has been a member of Adrian Heath’s wish list for several years, dating back to Heath’s time with Orlando City. Available for trade following the Expansion Draft the club was quick to jump at the opportunity. Including the trade, MNUFC has picked up five new players, adding to its depth across the pitch.
Venegas made his senior international debut with the Costa Rica national team in 2014, joining the club for a Copa Centroamericana match against Nicoragua. He has played 30 games for the Costa Rican national team since first getting called up in 2014. He has netted six goals for his country so far, including a game-winner over the United States in 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifying.
“He can play in all the attacking positions, he played up front on his own against the U.S. only a few weeks ago,” said Heath. “He plays wide right, he can play wide left and underneath the striker, he covers multiple positions and he is really good in all of them. So, I can’t tell you how pleased I am to manage to get this over the line today.”
After beginning his career in professional leagues in Costa Rica and Mexico, Venegas joined the Montreal Impact at the beginning of the 2015 season. The Costa Rican international has been solid in the middle of the park over the past two seasons for the Impact. Mainly getting work as a sub, Venegas had two goals and an assist in regular season play. He has helped Montreal to back-to-back playoff appearances, including a run to the Eastern Conference Final this past season.
Tickets for the 2017 season are on sale now, with Minnesota United moving into TCF Bank Stadium this spring and a whole new league. Season tickets start at just $18 per match, with prices set to increase this Friday. Find your seat now at MNUFC.COM.
Minnesota United trades Chris Duvall and General Allocation Money to Montreal Impact for Johan Venegas.
Born: Nov. 27, 1988 (28 years old)
Weight: 168 lbs.
Last Club: Montreal Impact
Hometown: Puerto Limón, Costa Rica
Birthplace: Puerto Limón, Costa Rica
Citizenship: Costa Rica
Acquired: December 13, 2016