United coach Adrian Heath has praised his team’s added depth and experience this season, a situation that left teenage prospect Thomas Chacon out of the team’s top 18 that were in uniform for Sunday’s 3-1 victory at Portland.
Heath left two of those added players – former Dallas FC midfielder Jacori Hayes and former USL player James Musa – at home and off the travel squad because he just doesn’t have enough space for everybody.
Chacon traveled to Portland, but wasn’t on the list of seven designated substitutes after Heath chose to go with strikers Aaron Schoenfeld and Mason Toye, midfielders Hassani Dotson, Marlon Hairston and Raheem Edwards, defender Jose Aja and goalkeeper Dayne St. Clair, recalled from San Antonio FC in the USL Championship league while backup keeper Greg Ranjitsingh is away from the team for a green-card appointment in Montreal.
“The bottom line is there’s only 18,” Heath said. “We’ve spoke about this strength and depth, just the quality we saw this morning in training. This is not an easy group to get in the team. Now, I know his opportunity is going to arrive at one stage. Then he has to take it when it comes along because we spoke about Molino, we spoke about Ethan Finlay (their play on Sunday). I thought Robin Lod was looking more like his old self again. It’s not going to be easy to break into this team.
“His opportunities are going to come and that’s when he has to take it, when it comes.”
OLYMPICS QUALIFYING TEAMS CALLING?
St. Clair returned from Portland with the team and trained in Blaine Tuesday after Ranjitsingh attended to that green card with a necessary trip out of the country, to Canada.
St. Clair is on Canada’s provisional 50-player roster for Concacaf men’s Olympic qualifying and Dotson and Toye are on the United States’ provisional roster for a tournament that begins in March 20 in Mexico. Final 20-man rosters are set a week from today, March 10.
When asked about the chances for Dotson and Toye, Heath said, “I think Hassani will be, I don’t know about Mason.”
If chosen, each player will head to training with the U.S. team right after Saturday’s game at San Jose.
“I’m just focused here, but obviously it’d be a great honor to be called up to the Olympic qualifying team,” Dotson said. “I’m hoping I get the call.”
DOTSON: SEATTLE'S "SCARY" CORONAVIRUS SITUATION
Dotson’s family members and friends traveled from home in Federal Way near Seattle for Sunday’s game and returned to a Washington state that as of Tuesday afternoon had 27 confirmed cases of the coronavirus and nine deaths.
“It’s pretty scary,” Dotson said. “They just want to make sure I’m safe, especially with all the traveling we do.”
NEW ON THE SIDELINE
Gophers hockey and prep football and hockey announcer Charlie Beattie, a St. Paul guy, is United’s new sideline reporter working alongside play-by-play announcer Callum Williams and analyst Kyndra de St. Aubin on FSN broadcasts now that Jamie Watson has moved on to a job in expansion Nashville’s broadcast booth.