One of the few remaining players from Minnesota United’s inaugural season has officially left the club.
Winger Ethan Finlay has signed a guaranteed two-year contract with Austin FC, the club announced on Monday. The Loons offered Finlay a contract to return the following season, but the 31-year-old opted to become a free agent instead.
Finlay, who was born in Duluth, was a regular starter with the Loons until this season, when Franco Fragapen and Robin Laud brought him to the lineup.
The following season, the Loons will host Austin FC at Allianz Field on August 20 and hit the road to play their second-year franchise on April 10.
“My family and I are excited to join Austin FC and experience the great city Austin has to offer,” Finlay said in a statement. “I have always respected and admired (sports director Claudio Reyna and head coach Josh Wolff) throughout their careers, so the opportunity to be part of this organization is something I cannot pass up. I am at this young but prolific club. I look forward to bringing leadership and a winning culture.”
Finlay joined Minnesota in a trade with the Columbus Crew in the middle of the 2017 season and had 6,143 regular-season minutes with 19 goals and 12 assists with MNUFC. Finlay played four MLS Cup playoff games with the Loons in 2019–20, but suffered an injury and missed a 3–1 first round loss to the Portland Timbers on November 21.
Finlay has been an executive board member for the MLS Players Association, and while he didn’t wear the captain’s armband in Minnesota, the 10-year-old MLS veteran, who spent five seasons with Columbus, was a regular spokesperson for the MNUFC.
With Finlay gone, Minnesota has only one player (Michael Boxall) from the 2017 roster under contract for 2022, while the club is working on re-signing a second player (Brent Kalman).