Minnesota United signs defensive midfielder Fernando Bob
ST. PAUL — Brazilian defensive midfielder Fernando Bob has signed a contract with Minnesota United through the rest of the 2018 season, the club announced Tuesday, Aug. 21.
Bob, whose full name is Fernando Paixao de Silva, most recently played in November for Internacional in Porto Alegre, Brazil. The 30-year-old established himself with the Brazilian team Ponte Preta, where he caught the eye of Loons coach Adrian Heath.
"I've been following him since Ponte Preta played Orlando City probably four years ago," said Heath, who coached in Orlando through mid-2016. "We tried to do the deal in Orlando — couldn't. And then he obviously had a big-money move to Internacional."
Bob comes to Minnesota on a free transfer, meaning the Loons don't have to make a deal with his former clubs. His free-agent status also means the transaction can occur after the summer transfer window, which closed in early August.
Heath said United's front office will consider extending Bob's contract beyond this season. He is not expected to be available for United's next game, at Sporting Kansas City on Saturday night.
"We felt as though it was something we couldn't afford not to do, because certainly the quality is there," Heath said. "He's a great passer of the ball, very strong, very physical, typical Brazilian guy, loves to play."
Minnesota United has struggled to fill the defensive midfielder role since veteran Sam Cronin was sidelined indefinitely with recurring concussion symptoms during preseason.
United brought in Brazilian defensive midfielder Maximiano on loan from Fluminense in Brazil, but he has played only 147 minutes in six games. At the start of the season, he was rehabbing a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his knee from June 2017, and now is working his way back from an unrelated knee injury.
The Loons have been using veteran Collen Warner as their primary defensive midfielder during the second half of this season.
"We think it's a position that is going to be more and more important for us moving forward, the way we want to play," Heath said.
Midfielder Darwin Quintero, who missed the 2-0 loss at FC Dallas on Saturday, rode a stationary bike during part of Tuesday's training session. Heath said Quintero is "better" and "day to day" with calf tightness.
Defender Jerome Thiesson (calf) has returned to full training this week.