Frequent contributor Jon Marthaler has written about virtually every sport in the Twin Cities, and fills in on Saturdays for the RandBall blog on StarTribune.com. He'll cover the professional soccer scene in the Twin Cities, whether at the Metrodome or at the National Sports Center.
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Minnesota United made their first trade of the summer break on Thursday, sending midfielder Bryan Arguez to the Carolina Railhawks in exchange for midfielder Floyd Franks.
Arguez, 24, signed with Minnesota in the offseason to try to get his career on track, but injuries - especially a hamstring that kept him out of most of the preseason and the beginning of the regular season - prevented him from ever really settling in with United. In the end, he played the equivalent of four and a half matches for Minnesota, without scoring a goal or racking up an assist.
Franks, meanwhile, started ten games for Carolina in the spring season, scoring three goals along the way. Like Arguez, he's a veteran of second-division soccer in America; the 29-year-old has played most of the past four seasons for Carolina, and also spent time with the now-defunct Cleveland City Stars, prior to being with the RailHawks.
Franks was the team captain for Carolina this spring, and has played mostly as a holding midfielder, according to Neil Morris, who covers the Railhawks for Indy Week. Franks can also fill in at right back if needed; from Minnesota's point of view, he might be just the player they're looking for to fill some of the defensive gaps that plagued their midfield in the spring season.
According to Morris, Carolina head coach Colin Clarke was strongly interested in signing Arguez in the offseason, but coudn't match the financial terms that Minnesota was offering. For most of the spring season, the RailHawks played two holding midfielders, in Franks and Nick Millington; Arguez may play more of an offensive role for the team.
Said United head coach Manny Lagos, via press release, "[Franks] is a tough nose two-way midfielder and he’s going to provide a lot of the leadership that we want in the middle of the field."
Of Arguez, Lagos said, "It never really got off the way he wanted to. The environment was kind of a cool spring and he’s a southern guy. We didn’t quite get him going the way we wanted to. You always want things to work out but sometimes they don’t."
In Franks, United has their third new midfielder of the summer break, after signing Calum Mallace and Sinisa Ubiparipovic on loan from Montreal. They'll have just a few weeks to integrate all three into the setup, before the fall season begins August 3.
During the spring season, Minnesota players and coaches spoke of the need for the team, with so many new players, needing to get to know each other before they could be successful. In some ways, the summer break - and at least three new players - means that this process will have to begin all over again.