Image: Minnesota United
Minnesota United manager Adrian Heath said Tuesday that attacker Emanuel Reynoso had an “exceptional morning” while adding that the Argentine’s quality has been “ridiculous” while training. Bebelo is getting “impatient” per Heath, but the club is taking it slowly while wanting to ensure that he’s match fit.
The same goes for defender Bakaye Dibassy, who appears to be on a similar timeline of return to the pitch. Neither are set to feature Wednesday against Austin, but eyes could be narrowing in on Toronto FC at home on the weekend for a small cameo.
Speaking of Austin, the Loons took flight Tuesday afternoon, traveling down South for their clash at Q2 stadium Wednesday night with the “Verde”. The Loons are searching for their fifth road win of the 2023 campaign, while looking to extend their unbeaten streak in the league to four-straight matches.
Austin sits 10th in the Western Conference, five spots beneath the Loons, but a mere three points separates the two sides. MNUFC and head coach Adrian Heath are preparing for one of the most difficult road tests of 2023 yet.
“They’ve changed quite a lot, they’ve changed the shape of the team and they change the personnel a lot. Obviously, the fact that [forward Sebastian] Driussi has been injured… I think he’s got two goals and this time last year, he’s probably got 14 – it makes a huge difference when your better players aren’t in the team,” Loons head coach Adrian Heath said. “You know, Gyasi [Zardes]’s come in and got a few goals, he’s just scored on the weekend. They’re good at home, I think the word I would use [to describe Austin’s season] is probably inconsistent this year. And they’ve been inconsistent with a lot of things, not only their results, but their team selection.”
Rumors have circled early this week that the reigning MLS MVP could play a part in Wednesday’s action for manager Josh Wolff, but Driussi has not featured for Austin since Saturday, April 29. The Argentine was listed as questionable against the Houston Dynamo on the weekend, but did not feature and was not named on the bench.
When asked if he’s expecting to face the star on Wednesday, the Loons boss chuckled and said “hopefully not.”
Regardless of Driussi’s status, Austin will present trouble to the Loons on and off the pitch. Known to have one of the more rambunctious home crowds across the league, MNUFC and captain Wil Trapp are prepared for the “hostile” environment that awaits them.
“Yeah, I mean, fortunately, we’ve played in some, quote-unquote, “hostile” environments already. Think about St. Louis, you think about going to Portland last week. And winning the games. Right? Those are moments where I think our group has done a really, really good job of rising to the occasion of what the crowd is bringing, and I think it’s a rallying call for us to dig in, dig deeper,” Trapp said. “So we know Q2 [Q2 Stadium] is a place where their fans do an amazing job of supporting their group. But it’s not something we overthink.”
The match kicks off Wednesday evening on MLS Season Pass on Apple TV at 7:30 pm CT with commentators Tony Husband and Ross Smith on the call.
Another note on the injury front, as defender Mikael Marques tweaked his shoulder Sunday evening playing for MNUFC2. The Swede had just returned from an ankle injury, but he was forced off during the match. His status is still to be determined, but he’s sidelined for the time being.