On Monday, May 5, Minnesota United FC announced that they had signed Richard Garcia, a 32-year-old Australian attacking midfielder. Garcia, standing 5' 11'', Garcia has played for the Australian National Team on 18 different occasions, both in the 2010 World Cup as well as in the 2014 World Cup Qualifying Round. He comes to MNU from Sydney FC in Australia's A-League, where he played with off-season signing Tiago Calvano.
Beyond simply having played in Australia, Garcia moved to England when he was young to join the West-Ham Academy, a well-known training ground. He spent 12 seasons in England, playing for Hull City in the English Premier League, and West Ham United in the Championship League along with Colchester. Later, Garcia joined Melbourne Heart in Australia's top league, scoring 6 goals and earning 4 assists, which was enough to earn multiple awards.
Early this season, MN United lost their star striker Pablo Campos to a knee injury. HIs return is unlikely this season, and Garcia was brought on to help make up for his absence. In 312 total appearances, Garcia has garnered 33 assists and 43 goals. These goals range from mundane to well-earned- that kind of follow-up on a shot is not as immediate as you'd think. Garcia displays poise and patience, integral to a good attacker.
Garcia brings some experience to this MNU squad. At 32 years, he will be the second-oldest member of Minnesota's midfield. His play features deft touches, aggressive movement, and after a match during which Minnesota was called back on three separate attacks for being offsides, that is particularly important. Just look at this brilliant run. Garcia doesn't need to be in the box to score, however. He certainly has the talent to score from distance.
This weekend, Minnesota United is away to New York Cosmos, so our first in-person chance to see Garcia at work will be May 17th, when the club takes on the Fort Lauderdale Strikers at the National Sports Center in Blaine. I, for one, will certainly be there to cheer on our Loons.
Richard Garcia's Twitter can be found HERE
Also- if you haven't listened to one yet, check out the Hockey Wilderness Podcast. It's pretty much as great as puck-talk gets.
image courtesy of Minnesota United FC