Image: Minnesota United FC
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If you’re a fan of any club or team, it’s the obvious first question when you sign a new player during the season. “When can you start?”
For Minnesota United supporters, we may have a concrete answer to that question sooner than originally expected, as new attacker Sang Bin Jeong is set to return to Minnesota Wednesday or Thursday following a successful visa appointment in Calgary.
Once back, Sang Bin has the “all clear” to begin fully training and likely playing for the Loons this Saturday in St. Louis.
“[Sang Bin] will be [available] if he gets back in time,” said Adrian Heath after Tuesday’s training session. “We’ve provisionally booked him on a flight today and tomorrow. So hopefully he’ll be back to train with the guys on Thursday. If he is, then he’ll give himself a good chance to be involved.”
The South Korean’s presence in the lineup may not just be welcome against an undefeated St. Louis City side, it could be necessary.
Normal starting right-winger Bongokuhle Hlongwane finished up his international window with South Africa on Tuesday afternoon with a 2-1 win over Liberia, meaning Bongi isn’t likely to be back with the squad until Thursday at the earliest.
Even if Bongi returns in time to get re-acclimated and ready for St. Louis, he’s played a total of 97 minutes between Friday and Tuesday, and may need a rest from playing 60+ minutes as a starter for Minnesota.
Enter Sang Bin.
While Heath has praised the 20-year old’s versatility along the front, he’s played primarily as a winger during his young career in the K League and Swiss premier division. A perfect fit for what may be an area of need in the starting XI for the Loons against the top team in the Supporters Shield race.
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The Loons Daily newsletter is written by Jeremy Rushing and presented by Sota Soccer, your home for soccer coverage in the North! If you could, please consider supporting our work at Patreon.com/sotasoccer