While the potential for more signings is always in the background, Minnesota United FC is currently focused on developing the players already on the team, sporting director Manny Lagos said Thursday.
"It's important that we continue to make sure we're measured in terms of how we want to build the roster in terms of our next moves, particularly in the next couple months," Lagos said. "There's no doubt we're going to be thinking about this summer and how we can grow and get better, and there's no doubt additions will be a part of that dialogue.
"But we're still in that phase where we have to get to know this group … before we can definitely say there's some bigger moves that we want to make."
Lagos said any additions made from now on have to be the right fit financially as well as character- and performance-wise. While saying the team is "wide open" and "not ruling anything out" about possible moves and the timing of them, both short and long term, the main priority is the 26 players on United now.
"We have to make sure, week-in, week-out, this unit is getting better both individually and collectively," he said. "And we as a staff are really continuing to make sure we're planning to be competitive, from now until the end of this year, but for next year as well."
As a way to identify potential additions, Lagos said director of player personnel Amos Magee will travel to Chile this weekend to scout.
"He’ll probably see about seven or eight professional games there, and there’ll be specific guys that we’ll be looking at in South America," Lagos said. "We're not specifically just looking at one country, but certainly the leagues start to close their season there in South America, so there are several players where this is a good opportunity to look at key players.
"Nothing to say that it's going to result in anything short term, but again, it's part of our long-term scouting goal of making sure we build our depth chart, our scouting network," Lagos said. "Sometimes these trips lead to a player in two or three years."
The MLS Players Union released players' salary information Tuesday, and Lagos said he likes the discussion that comes out of those numbers, both good and bad. One such player at the center of that feedback was center-back Brent Kallman, a North American Soccer League holdover who earned a starting spot by the team's third match and has been a solid presence on United's struggling defense.
Kallman, though, is making just more than the senior minimum salary of $65,000. Lagos said technically, players can always renegotiate their salary, and there are many different kinds of contracts, from one year plus options that the team controls to guaranteed contracts for a couple of years.
"I look at these things like, if a player comes in and potentially is on a lower salary and does well, it’s a win-win," Lagos said. "Because hopefully, the player makes more money in the future, but it's also the player understands the club gave him the opportunity to grow into a higher-level contract. So we always want to be a club that hopefully can help players build and build their careers and make more money."
United announced its technical staff for its development academy Wednesday evening:
Tim Carter: academy director, technical leader U13–U14
Andy Seidel: academy coach U13–U14, technical leader U12 (Kallman's brother-in-law, FYI)
Ryan Brooks: academy manager, academy coach goalkeeping U13–U14
Craig Mallace: director of camps, academy staff
Marius Rovde: first team goalkeeper coach, director of goalkeeping
Jarryd Phillips: first team fitness coach, director of fitness and sport science
Amos Magee: director of player personnel, academy staff
Manny Lagos: sporting director, academy staff
The team also announced a partnership with SeatGeek as the official "fan-to-fan ticket marketplace." SeatGeek will also become the team's official ticketing provider starting in 2019, this after a July 2016 agreement MLS made with SeatGeek as the official ticketing partner of the league.