He is the latest piece in the Loons' effort to repair their defense, which allowed 70 goals (worst in the league) in their first MLS season in 2017 and 71 goals in (tied for the second-worst) in 2018. Minnesota has also acquired Madagascar international Romain Metanire to play right back, 2017 MLS Defender of the Year Ike Opara to start at center back and Osvaldo Alonso and Jan Gregus to patrol central midfield.
“The most important thing is we have added another player who has vast experience and has played at a really high level,” said MNUFC head coach Adrian Heath. “He’s played in the Premier League, the Championship, some very difficult leagues to play in. He’s been at big clubs and he knows what it feels like to play under tremendous pressure. As a player, he’s really competent at all aspects of his game, he’s good playing in traffic, coming out for crosses, he’s good with his feet. He has all the things we’ve been looking for in a goalkeeper.”
Mannone was 17 when he was signed by Arsenal in 2006 and made his Gunners' debut the following year during the 2007–08 season. He spent two seasons on loan to Hull City, played four seasons with Sunderland, where he won its 2014 Player of the Year award, and joined Reading in a transfer from Sunderland in 2017 after the Black Cats were relegated. During his two seasons with Reading, Mannone played 47 games.
2019 Roster (23 players):
Goalkeeper (3): Vito Mannone (Reading/ENG, on loan), Bobby Shuttleworth, Dayne St. Clair (Univ. of Maryland).
Defenders (8): Michael Boxall, Francisco Calvo, Brent Kallman, Carter Manley, Romain Metanire (Reims/FRA), Eric Miller, Wyatt Omsberg, Ike Opara (Sporting KC).
Midfielders (8): Osvaldo Alonso (Seattle), Ethan Finlay, Jan Gregus (FC Copenhagen/DEN), Miguel Ibarra, Romario Ibarra, Collin Martin, Kevin Molino, Rasmus Schuller.
Forwards (4): Abu Danladi, Darwin Quintero, Mason Toye, Angelo Rodriguez.