Image: Minnesota United
MNUFC manager Adrian Heath spoke with media Tuesday afternoon in a press conference via Zoom interview from California, where the team is finishing up preseason in the Coachella Valley invitational. Heath opened the call by answering questions on absentee playmaker Emanuel Reynoso, who last week, was suspended by MLS for failing to show up for preseason. Per the club, Reynoso has been dealing with personal issues in Argentina.
“To be honest with you, I’m focusing on the people that we have here, you know, obviously it’s a distraction we could have done without. I’d be lying if I said it doesn’t concern me and I’m not disappointed, but it is what it is. You know, I can’t physically change the situation when I’ve got so much going on here (with the first-team)… As I’ve said to the group, as much as Rey is an integral part of everything that we’ve done over the past few years, it would be foolish of me not to admit to that… but the bottom line is that we have a game in a couple weeks time and we have to make sure that we are (both) mentally and physically prepared for that game… and that’s what we’ll do,” Heath said. “We’re working with the group that we have and there’s much.. I’ve asked the question “have we got anymore updates” and I’ve asked the question “what’s the situation” because what it is, is that at this moment in time? He’s not here. So let’s concentrate on the players that are here.”
This was the first candid interview Heath has done in the absence of Reynoso, and it’s worth noting that the continued absence is seeming to have an effect on the club’s plans for opening day against FC Dallas on February 25. However, today marked the turn of where it seems as though both Heath and the Loons are planning on moving forward without Reynoso until more comes to life about his current situation and whereabouts.
When asked about how he believes the situation is going to be resolved, Heath said that he’s planning on leaving that to club officials back here in Minnesota.
“No I can’t, if I’m being honest with you. I’m leaving that to people back at the club with the likes of Manny (Manny Lagos) and Watto (Mark Watson)… I know Shari (Shari Ballard) is getting involved… So at this moment in time, I’ve got too much on my plate here to try and prepare the group of players that are here. You know, it would be truly inhumane to say it’s… we’re not concerned that Rey is not here. You don’t lose one of the best players in the league and not have it effect or play on your mind that you’re not thinking about it,” Heath said. “We can’t, I can’t let the players think too much about that, I can only concentrate and make them concentrate on what we’re trying to do.”
As the Emanuel Reynoso situation continues to develop, Sota Soccer will continue to bring you news on the Argentine’s status.
- Midfielder Hassani Dotson has returned to training for the Loons at a 100% rate. The USA international is set to get minutes with the team in their preseason friendly against the San Jose Earthquakes Wednesday, per Heath. There’s an expectation that Dotson will be available for opening day against FC Dallas if needed, but there’s a near 100 percent certainty that the midfielder will be available for the Loons home opener at Allianz Field on March 11.
- The club is still awaiting the Visa of newly acquired Mexican defender Miguel Tapias, while there was an expectation that the issue would have been resolved on Tuesday. Heath’s plans for Wednesday’s friendly against the Earthquakes include Tapias, but unless the Visa arrives, the defender will not feature.
- Swedish defender Mikael Marques has finally arrived in the United States and has joined the team in California. Heath’s initial thoughts on the defender were that he is “very, very smooth on the ball and comfortable moving with the ball,” while noting that he’s a “very intelligent” player – on and off the pitch. Marques speaks “four or five” languages and has integrated into the team well so far. Primarily seen as a central defender, Heath also pointed out that Marques can play on the right side of both a back-three and a back-four; that’s something to watch as the season goes on.
- It appears as though Robin Lod will be playing in the midfield this season. In the Loons 1-0 loss to the New York Red Bulls over the weekend, Lod lined up as an 8 in a 4-3-3 paired alongside Kervin Arriaga with Wil Trapp sitting slightly beneath the duo. The versatile Finnish playmaker can play centrally, as an attacking midfielder or as a right wing.
- Transfer news? Transfer news. The Loons are actively pursuing additions to bolster the squad, with Heath noting that they’re looking at bringing in an attacking player from outside the league. When asked about intra-league moves, Heath told media Tuesday that any addition at this point is likely to come from outside the league.
- Wednesday’s match against the Earthquakes will consist of a split squad, with each group getting 45 minutes. Meanwhile, Saturday’s contest against the Vancouver whitecaps will consist of an XI that will likely have a large impact come opening day.