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Loons add fullback depth with signing of Zarek Valentin

Valentin made 53 appearances for the Houston Dynamo in the past three seasons.

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ST. PAUL -- Minnesota United has added fullback depth with the signing of free agent Zarek Valentin to a one-year contract with a club option for 2024, the club said Thursday.

Valentin, primarily a right back with flexibility to play left back, made 53 appearances for the Houston Dynamo in the past three seasons. He only played in five MLS games a season ago.

Valentin received $290,000 in guaranteed compensation with Dynamo last year, according to the MLS Players’ Association, before Houston declined his contract option after the season. Valentin’s salary with the Loons will be well below that figure, and he will be on the club’s supplemental roster, a source told the Pioneer Press.

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Valentin, 31, comes in as a similar player to Oniel Fisher, an experienced Jamaican who had his contract option declined by Minnesota for 2023. Valentin will be a backup to D.J. Taylor and Alan Benitez on the right side and Kemar Lawrence on the left.

Valentin, who was born in Lancaster, Pa., has played for the Puerto Rican national team and was with Portland Timbers from 2016-19 after stints with other clubs.

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The Loons added backup goalkeeper Clint Irwin via free agency on Tuesday and have at least one more intra-MLS addition in the works.

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