Minnesota United boosts defending in trade with Colorado Rapids

Minnesota United has picked up some much-needed defensive help by adding holding midfielder Sam Cronin and defender Marc Burch in a trade with the Colorado Rapids.

Colorado received midfielder Mohammed Saeid, winger Josh Gatt and an international slot in the deal, confirmed by the clubs on Friday evening.

Minnesota's first season in MLS has gotten off to a dismal start, allowing 18 goals through only four games -- three defeats and a draw.

MLS teams only allowed five goals or more in seven games last season, but Minnesota has already done that in three.

Cronin is a nine-year MLS veteran who played for Toronto FC and the San Jose Earthquakes before joining the Rapids in 2015. He earned two caps with the U.S. in 2009.

Because Cronin signed with the Rapids as a free agent last year, the team could not trade him outright, and instead had to waive the 30-year old. Minnesota then dealt its third-round pick in the 2019 SuperDraft to the Chicago Fire to move up the waiver order and select him.

Burch, 32, joins his sixth MLS team in his 12th season in the league.

"We are bringing in two strong players with a lot of MLS experience that can help us from the moment they arrive," United coach Adrian Heath said in a statement.

"From the beginning, I've said we will be constantly evaluating our roster and any additional needs and moves we need to make. We feel that both Sam and Marc are confident players who will be ready to step in immediately and make an impact with this club."

Sweden native Saeid, 26, moved to MLS in 2015 and played two years with Columbus Crew SC before Minnesota picked him up in the expansion draft. He had started all three games for United this season.

The 25-year-old Gatt had yet to see action for Minnesota since moving from Molde in the Norwegian Tippeligaen last month. He is also a former U.S. international, last playing for the national team in 2013.

Minnesota will pay a portion of Gatt's salary budget hit of $194,000, sources said, which also added that no allocation money was involved in the deal.

"Mohammed is a proven talent in MLS and has a successful track record in the league," said Rapids sporting director Padraig Smith. "His passing quality is of the highest level and his ability to find passes between the lines and move the team forward are key qualities we want in our club.

"Although Josh has had injury issues in the past his talent is without question. He brings pace and an attacking boldness which will provide our coaching staff with another weapon on attack.

"We're confident the move to bring both of these young players to our club will help bolster our attack while providing us with additional cap flexibility to continue to improve our roster."