Scottish winger Sam Nicholson watched Minnesota United practice from the stands at the National Sports Center on Tuesday.
The 22-year-old, who just finished his season with Scottish top-division team Heart of Midlothian F.C., is in town throughout the next few days checking out the Loons and discussing a possible move.
"In all honesty, it's just to have him come out and see the Twin Cities," United sporting director Manny Lagos said. "This is just to get to know each other a little bit, see if there's common ground."
If signed, Nicholson, whose contract with Hearts is ending, wouldn't be available to play for United until July 10, when the secondary Major League Soccer transfer window opens.
Lagos declined to give many details about the possible addition because he said he doesn't know where these discussions will lead yet. But he did have high praise for Nicholson.
"He's got some good experience playing in Scotland, which is a tough, hard-nosed league," Lagos said. "He's a fast, quick player. He plays in a position where speed's important. And as a winger, he's really lively and kind of brings that energy to the field. Technically, very good with both feet, which is important for playing on either side of the field."
Nicholson is a product of Hearts youth academy and has played for his country at the youth levels. He's made 127 appearances with 15 goals for his club team, according to the Hearts' website.
Injuries and absences
While United will be without team captain Francisco Calvo, who recently made the league's Team of the Week after the win against Orlando City, and midfielder Johan Venegas through June 14 because of national team duty with Costa Rica, the squad is gaining back some injured players.
Coach Adrian Heath said after practice Tuesday that midfielder Rasmus Schuller, who joined in on a light training session with the starters, would be available for the 4 p.m. Saturday match at Sporting Kansas City after recovering once again from a lingering hip flexor injury.
The same is true for midfielders Kevin Molino and Bashkim Kadrii, who both fell ill ahead of Orlando match and missed it. Heath said Molino was coming in to do some work later Tuesday, while Kadrii planned to participate in a closed scrimmage against Minneapolis City SC on Tuesday evening.
Many of the players playing in the scrimmage, including midfielder Ish Jome, midfielder Collen Warner, midfielder Collin Martin, defender Jermaine Taylor, defender Kevin Venegas, defender Justin Davis and Kadrii, sat out the morning session. But Heath said he is looking forward to those bench players gaining more match minutes.
"One of the reasons we put this game in is we knew that we were going to need them in this little window of the season," Heath said. "So it'll be good for them."
Speaking of playing time, Heath said he hopes to have players like Jome and Martin out on loan "in the next couple of weeks."
As for rookie forward Abu Danladi, who has been dealing with a groin injury for the past two weeks, Heath said the No. 1 draft pick should be back in time for either the June 14 U.S. Open Cup match at Sporting Kansas City or the June 17 match at Real Salt Lake. His return will be welcome, as Molino is likely to leave on national team duty with Trinidad and Tobago after this weekend's match and probably won't return in time for the U.S. Open Cup faceoff.