Sanneh signs with Thunder

The Minnesota Thunder have signed World Cup veteran

Tony Sanneh

. The former U.S. men's national team standout and St. Paul native will be available for Thursday night's game against the California Victory. The Thunder will then head east to play the Rochester Raging Rhinos on Saturday.

It's uncertain how long Sanneh will be with the squad. Earlier this month the Chicago Fire traded rights to the 36-year-old defender to the Colorado Rapids. However New York Red Bulls are now reportedly interested in acquiring Sanneh. The length of his tenure with the Thunder will hinge on negotiations between the MLS clubs.

Although the Thunder have endured a rough season overall (3-6-6), the team is unbeaten in its last four matches (2-0-2). The defense in particular has come together nicely, allowing a miserly four goals over the last seven games. "With our young group, as well as I think we're playing defensively, I think this is a chance for us to actually get better," says Coach Amos Magee. "You don't pass up an opportunity to bring in a world class player like Tony."

Sanneh previously played for the Thunder in the mid-90s. At that time he was a lethal striker, notching 18 goals and 22 assists during the 1995 campaign. Then-D.C. United Coach Bruce Arena subsequently converted him into a defender. Sanneh went on to play for German clubs Hertha Berlin and FC Nurnberg before returning to MLS in 2004.

The St. Paul Academy graduate, who is recovering from hip surgery, worked out with the squad yesterday for the first time since signing. "He looked very good last night," Magee reports.

(I have a call out to Sanneh. Hopefully I'll post his comments here later.)

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