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 may be perfect in 2014, having won four out of four matches - but they aren't done adding to their squad. Monday, they announced that Australian international striker Richard Garcia has signed for the remainder of the spring season.
Garcia, who will be 33 in September, has an enormous amount of experience; he played in the 2010 World Cup with Australia, and spent a dozen seasons playing in England - most notably for five seasons with Hull City in the Premier League, where he scored eight times in 114 appearances.
Most recently, Garcia had played two years in his native Australia, where he teamed up with current United center back Tiago Calvano at Sydney FC. The A-League season, which begins in mid-October, concluded yesterday, though Sydney FC was knocked out of the playoffs in the first round, two weeks ago.
The club refused to disclose the terms or length of the contract, though if Garcia returns in the fall, he will be with Minnesota through the mid-November conclusion of the NASL season. In other words, we'll know by the beginning of the second half of the season whether Garcia will be part of the team for more than five games.
Garcia has yet to arrive in Minnesota, but the requisite visas are being resolved, and he should be in town later this week. He could potentially be in the squad for Monday's game at New York, though it could be a long shot given everything that has to happen to get him here from the other side of the world.
The 32-year-old has played as both a winger and a striker in his career. Assuming he doesn't just slot in on the wing, United could deploy him in a number of different roles, though their greatest need could be in the center of midfield. His arrival could see the team return to a more traditional 4-4-2 look, and play both he and Christian Ramirez as forwards. Should Minnesota stick with a 4-2-3-1 or a 4-4-1-1, he could slot in more centrally and play as a playmaking midfielder.
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