Major League Soccer's All-Star Game against Real Madrid is Wednesday, but no Minnesota United players made the trip to Chicago.
The Loons were one of nine MLS teams left without an All-Star rep. Coach Adrian Heath said three of his players were on "standby" in consideration for selection: midfielders Ibson and Kevin Molino as well as forward Christian Ramirez.
"I'm not sure it's as by as much voting as people think," Heath said of the All-Star roster, which is comprised of fan vote choices and picks from All-Star and Chicago Fire coach Veljko Paunovic and league commissioner Don Garber. "Obviously, it would have been nice to have had some representative. But as I say, I'm not sure there's been too many better players than Ibson this year. In fact, I guarantee you there hasn't been."
At least the Loons won't be missing any key pieces heading into a 7 p.m. Saturday matchup with defending MLS champions the Seattle Sounders FC. (Except Heath wasn't too impressed with his team's intensity level at training Tuesday at the National Sports Center.)
Midfielder Rasmus Schuller (thigh), defender Marc Burch (groin), defender Thomas de Villardi (Achilles) and Ramirez (hamstring) all trained separately. Ramirez is "day-to-day," according to Heath. Midfielder Sam Cronin was also absent, away on "league business," but will return Wednesday.
Defender Joe Greenspan returned to practice after recovering from a concussion. He had surgery on his broken nose and is wearing a mask, a la Bobby Shuttleworth.
The team also had three new college players in training with the squad: Rafael Andrade Santos, a senior midfielder from VCU; Ricky Lopez-Espin, a senior forward from Creighton and also a Shattuck St. Mary's product under United academy director Tim Carter, and Elvir Ibisevic, a sophomore forward from Nebraska-Omaha.
Also, Molino made the league's Team of the Week on Monday for his two-assist performance in a 4-0 victory against D.C. United on Saturday. Right-back Jerome Thiesson was an honorable mention on the bench.
And as far as a transfer window update, Heath said there has been a lot of phone calls going around the league.
"The problem you have at this time is, nearly everybody wants your best players. Like we want somebody else's best player," Heath said. "But sometimes if people are bringing somebody in from outside ... then that sometimes opens up people that you might think normally might not be available."
Heath mentioned moves from one or two bigger clubs, like the Los Angeles Galaxy signing Jonathan dos Santos, and if those will make one or two other players more attainable.
But it looks like the Loons might not be after a goalkeeper before the end of the transfer window on Aug. 9. With the team declining to extend John Alvbage's loan, United has just Shuttleworth and Patrick McLain on the roster.
"We'll probably stay as we are at this moment in time," Heath said. "But we'll look at the situation over the next few months."