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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After signing over the summer break, winger Omar Daley flew under the radar for Minnesota United FC for awhile. He made four appearances as a substitute, never doing anything of note, and it began to look like the veteran midfielder would make very little dent in the consciousness of United fans.
The last two games of the season, though, Daley was thrown into the starting lineup, and he responded. He created Minnesota's first goal in a 3-1 win over Fort Lauderdale with a gorgeous cross-field pass that Lucas Rodriguez turned back into the center of the field for a Pablo Campos goal - perhaps the best pass from a winger all season. The following week, in the season's final game in Tampa, Daley showed he could score, too, netting a hat-trick in a 6-4 win.
Thursday, United announced that the veteran - who will be 33 in April - will be back for another year. The move adds a second winger to the roster, after Miguel Ibarra, and helps explain why the team let veteran Lucas Rodriguez become a free agent.
Daley certainly has plenty of experience; he has played 72 times for the Jamaican national team, including twice in a pair of friendlies against Trinidad and Tobago in November, and made more than 150 appearances in the Scottish and English leagues over the course of four seaons.
Minnesota effectively has two remaining players from the 2013 squad in limbo; keeper Mitch Hildebrandt and center back Connor Tobin are both free agents, but both are in talks with United regarding potentially re-signing for the club. The team has already re-signed two of its own free agents, in Daley and Michael Reed.
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