Image: Minnesota United
Minnesota United announced Wednesday morning that attacking midfielder Emanuel Reynoso had his suspension by Major League Soccer lifted, clearing the Argentine to participate in all club-related activities.
Reynoso was suspended without pay by MLS on February 10 for failing to report to preseason training camp. The Loons announced that Reynoso returned to Minnesota after a months-long absence on May 6..
Despite being reinstated, reynoso’ return to the training ground is still a little over a week away.
“He spoke to the players yesterday. And now obviously we’ve got the game tomorrow. We travel on Thursday for the game Saturday, then we go straight from Portland to Houston again. So I would think he would be free to certainly join in the beginning part of training as of Wednesday, Thursday next week,” Heath said.
Reynoso hasn’t played a competitive match since October of 2022, with his last official training session coming shortly after. The Loons plan to integrate the Argentine with the squad is one carefully crafted to ensure that his fitness levels are appropriate and that he’s earned the right to play with the team again.
“Well, you can’t rush him because ultimately is going to break down – and we can’t afford that he’s been on a long break… He’s working really hard, he’s doing two-to-three sessions a day and he’s approached it in a great manner. As I’ve said on numerous occasions, you know, we could use him but any team in this league could use a fit Reynoso, Heath said. “The sooner the better, but we have to look at the big picture, not the immediate picture, because the last thing we want to do is set him back again, and then he can’t do anything for a longer period. So, you know, we’ll air with a bit of caution but we want to start to push him.”
Heath’s hope is that Reynoso will earn the trust of the club back through his “actions, not by his words,” and that by doing so, he’ll prove that he wants to be back with the club. “If he does that, I’ve seen a lot worse than what Rey’s done and they’ve been forgiven by the rest of the group. Players are normally a forgiving lot. You know, they’ve all made mistakes. And now we’ve got to move on.”
The Argentine will not travel with the club for their match against the Portland Timbers this coming weekend or their Open Cup match against the Houston Dynamo next Tuesday, but the attacker will be present for the Loons match against the Dynamo Wednesday evening at Allianz Field.
There’s no definite timeline for his return, but the keys are now in Reynoso’s hands. He needs to show and prove to the group that he wants to be a Loon.
“What he does, how he trains, how he performs As I always say to the players, the one thing they can never guarantee is playing well, because the opposition can do something about that. What they can control is the amount of effort you put in, the determination they play with the application of working hard – That’s what Rey’s got to do,” Heath said. “If he does, his talent will take over and we know what that’s like.”
Players-only meeting on Monday
Heath informed Media that a players-only meeting was held Monday, where Reynoso sat down with the squad and explained his situation to the group. What happened behind those doors is a story for Reynoso himself to tell, but captain Wil Trapp spoke on the candid conversation and how the player pool feels about the Argentine’s return to the team following his months-long absence.
Yeah, I mean, yesterday was really just about giving Rey the space to explain, right. And I think it was really important for us as a group to hear his side of it, right. Because I think in a team environment, trust and honesty and conversation has to happen,” club captain Wil Trapp said. “Without that, everyone’s guessing at what, what the reason was and those sorts of things. So I think ultimately, it was really good for him to be able to express that to the group for the group to hear it and then now it’s just about what the steps are the action steps to to continue to rebuild that trust to be honest.”
Rebuilding the trust is going to be a key component over the next few weeks, but Trapp also said that the group understands things a bit more now that they were explained from Reynoso himself.
“I think as teammates, it’s really just important to understand that we’re humans and that level of breaking it down to that point of view is super important. He came to us in a very humble way and I think that was great for us to see that, Trapp said. “He’s a human and things happen, and ultimately, the only way you can move forward is after you have conversations like that in situations like that. So the steps, like I said, will now be about walking the walk.”
The impact won’t be immediate though, as there is a process that Reynoso will have to go through. The group has played without him for the entirety of the 2023 campaign and have learned to adjust to life without him. The Argentine’s long-awaited return has happened, but the process of regaining the trust of both his teammates and the coaching staff will be vital.