Two weeks after a successful season ended with a thudding first-round playoff loss, Minnesota United will move forward with modified duties for coach Adrian Heath and sporting director Manny Lagos.
Heath will remain coach but will have more input in personnel decisions concerning United’s “first team,” the 20 or so top players on the MLS roster. Lagos will receive a new title and new duties, according to a source with knowledge of the situation.
Lagos will focus on building United’s “second team,” which includes growing its youth academy, pursuing the franchise’s own feeder USL team and developing further its sports science division.
The St. Paul native will receive a new title befitting a new role that’s something of a global soccer CEO intended to mature the organization.
United still intends to make major decisions by consensus through a group that includes managing partner Bill McGuire, CEO Chris Wright, Lagos and Heath, according to the source.
Heath is expecting to retain his coaching title without additional titles added.
Assistant coach Mark Watson will assume Lagos’ title as sporting director and front-office duties such as negotiating player contracts. The team also expects to hire another assistant coach.
Player personnel director Amos Magee is expected to remain in his position still under the sporting director, which now will be Watson.
United improved its roster this season during two league transfer windows that brought players such as MLS vets Ozzie Alonso and Ike Opara as well as proven European players Vito Mannone, Jan Gregus, Romain Metanire and Robin Lod.
United started seven players in its first-round playoff loss who weren’t with the team in 2018. Heath promised near season’s end that the team will continue to be aggressive making moves to improve. After two losing seasons in MLS play, it finished 2019 with a winning 15-11-8 record and a home playoff spot for the first time.
Lagos became United’s first sporting director after the 2015 season.
Heath was hired as coach in November 2016 after coaching the Orlando City team as well as USL teams in Orlando and Austin, Texas. He has more than 20 years of coaching experience in the U.S. and England after he played 18 pro seasons primarily in England’s first division.
Gasper called up
The U.S. men’s national soccer team called up Loons rookie left back Chase Gasper for a weeklong pre-camp in Bradenton, Fla., that starts Saturday.
The national team is preparing for the conclusion of CONCACAF Nations League Group A play.