In the midst of his team's three-game regular-season losing streak that began when hip surgery knocked out starting goalkeeper Tyler Miller for the season, Minnesota United coach Adrian Heath was asked Friday about bringing back a familiar face:
Free-agent keeper Vito Mannone, MLS' 2019 Goalkeeper of the Year.
"Trust me, you're not the first person who has mentioned Vito's name, as you can imagine," Heath said to a questioner on a video conference call Friday with reporters.
The Loons have allowed eight goals in three games since backup Greg Ranjitsingh replaced Miller in the starting lineup. He played 12 games in 2020 on loan to Esbjerg in the Danish Superliga.
"We'll see how we go," Heath said. "It's something we are assessing, and we'll decide down the road what we're going to do about this. I wouldn't rule anything out, but at this moment in time we haven't decided to go down that road."
Waiting for Ike
The Loons have played without two-time MLS Defender of the Year Ike Opara since the league began playing games again at its MLS is Back tournament in Orlando in July.
Heath on Friday was asked if he expects Opara to play with the team again this season.
"We're hopeful," Heath said. "At the moment, we've got no immediate thoughts of [him] playing in the next couple weeks. We're hopeful at some stage he will, but it is day-to-day, week-to-week, really. There's not an awful lot I can expand on that."
The team termed the reason for Opara's absence as "undisclosed."
Heath again said the team still is considering loaning out young designated-player midfielder Thomas Chacon so he can play more than he has. The addition of Emanuel Reynoso might convince it to do so.
"We're not 100 percent certain what's going to happen," Heath said. "We'll assess it over the next few weeks."
Chacon didn't travel to Houston for Wednesday's 3-0 loss because of a knock he took during training. He did some light training Friday. "Hopefully Thomas will be fit," Heath said.
• Recently signed French left-side defender Bakaye Dibassy has cleared quarantine and Heath said he hopes Dibassy "can take some part of the game" on Sunday.
• Reynoso made his MLS debut Wednesday. Heath said he must decide if Reynoso starts and plays about an hour Sunday or if he brings Reynoso in as a second-half sub again, as he did in the 71st minute at Houston.
• Captain Ozzie Alonso is expected back in the starting 11 Sunday after he didn't travel Wednesday so he could rest during the first of consecutive two-game weeks.