Batman and Superman are getting back together in Minnesota.
The unveiling seals Ibarra’s return to MNUFC via transfer after a year and a half in Mexico with Liga MX side Club Leon, while Ramirez joins Minnesota’s MLS era after three seasons as the club’s top striker in the North American Soccer League.
The two Southern California natives and former youth club teammates paced the Loons’ attack from 2013 to 2015, with Ibarra creating chances in a wing role and Ramirez providing the finishing touches in front of goal. United fans dubbed them Batman and Superman, respectively, tags the players playfully embraced.
Ibarra, 26, earned two NASL Best XI nods and won the NASL Golden Ball (MVP award) in 2014, in the process earning a US national team call-up from Jurgen Klinsmann, the first American second-division player to do so in a decade. In June 2015 he was sold to Club Leon in a deal reported to be worth near $1 million, but found limited opportunities for playing time with La Fiera.
The Portland Timbers acquired Ibarra’s MLS rights before the 2016 season and sought unsuccessfully to bring him in on loan; the Timbers reportedly sent his rights to Minnesota in the December trade that sent goalkeeper Jeff Attinella to Portland.
Ramirez, 25, began his pro career with the USL’s Charlotte Eagles in 2013 before moving to MNUFC, where he scored 51 goals over three NASL seasons, including league-leading tallies of 18 strikes in 2016 and 20 in 2014. He was named to the league’s Best XI in all three seasons.
Minnesota United make their MLS debut in the opening match of the 2017 season, a Friday-night visit to the Portland Timbers at Providence Park on March 3.