Minnesota United had one very notable absence at practice Wednesday at Elizabeth Lyle Robbie Stadium on the University of Minnesota campus: Johan Venegas, former starting midfielder.
"He's very frustrated at this moment in time, and we've told him just to stay away for a couple of days, clear his head," coach Adrian Heath said. "And we'll address that later in the week."
Heath declined to comment further about whether the Costa Rican's frustration was about not starting for the first time when available in this past Sunday's 2-0 win against Sporting Kansas City. Venegas did come on in the dying minutes of the match as a substitute, but rookie Abu Danladi started in his place.
While Heath had praised Danladi's energy in his limited match minutes up to that start, the coach wasn't so pleased with Venegas' performance in his most recent start, a 1-0 loss to the San Jose Earthquakes on April 29. Heath said he expected more from Venegas, especially in terms of his effort.
The 28-year-old has started eight of nine matches for United, missing one match on national team duty with Costa Rica. He's scored two goals and made two assists.
United plays at Toronto FC at 2 p.m. Saturday.
Other notes: Marc Burch and trainee Jeb Brovsky were also absent from training. Burch is still managing a lingering groin injury that has forced him to sit out of practice, but not matches, for several weeks. Brovsky is still rehabbing an ACL injury. ... Goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth practiced with a mask to protect his broken nose from the Kansas City match and looked like something out of "The Phantom of the Opera," according to Heath. ... Midfielder Rasmus Schuller is also back to training at 100 percent after enduring a hip flexor injury April 15 at the Houston Dynamo. While he's been left out of the squad the past several matches, Heath said Schuller is looking "a bit more like he was a few weeks ago."