Image: Minnesota United
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Following a preseason trip to California that saw no wins and no goals from the run of play, Minnesota United returned to the NSC in Blaine this week to begin their first real match-week of the 2023 campaign.
Of course, the elephant in the room (or the bubble dome, in this case) is the continued absence of star midfielder Emanuel Reynoso, who remains in Argentina just days from the beginning of the regular season.
While head coach Adrian Heath has been steadfast in his claim that the club is moving forward without its talisman, he also spoke honestly Tuesday about his hopes for a resolution on the matter.
“Hopefully common sense will prevail and he’ll be back here,” said Heath.
The Loons’ gaffer admitted he hasn’t spoken to Reynoso personally in weeks, but has spoken to the Argentine’s brother and father about the matter. Even with no clear timetable for a possible reunion, there remains a layer of optimism that the desire for that reunion to occur is mutual between both parties.
When asked if he believes Reynoso wants to be in Minnesota, Heath asserted, “I know he wants to.”
We’re clearly past the “point of no return” for any possibility of Reynoso being on the matchday roster for Saturday’s opener in Dallas, and even if the 27-year old showed up tomorrow, it would take some time to reacclimate and get back to the proper fitness level needed to play significant minutes again.
MNUFC’s defensive depth is very much in question, as Brent Kallman, Doneil Henry, Mikael Marques, Alan Benitez, and Ryen Jiba all missed Tuesday’s training due to injury, with D.J. Taylor limited and “questionable” for Saturday due to tendinitis.
Kervin Arriaga, Joseph Rosales, and Luis Amarilla also missed Tuesday’s session, as all three are out of the country working on green cards, which would free up valuable international roster spots for the Loons if completed.
Heath is very keen on the Boxall-Tapias CB pairing, all but assuring they’ll be starting together on Saturday.
Speaking of Boxy, he’s not a fan of the new Northern Lights kit. “I’m not really a fan of pink,” he said.
Transfer news? Heath mentioned moves to bolster the club’s U-22 initiative slots are in the works, as is the possibility of buying down a DP spot (presumably Amarilla’s). In addition, the gaffer confirmed a deal for a new attacker is “close” to over the line.