Minnesota United has used this reconfigured MLS summer-transfer window to sign Argentine attacking midfielder Emanuel Reynoso and French left-side defender Bakaye Dibassy. Both moves fill two international-player slots as well as the team’s third and final “designated player” spot.
And the Loons still have what technical director Mark Watson calls “a lot of flexibility” going forth.
Coach Adrian Heath has said there could be a third move to follow Dibassy’s signing last month and Reynoso’s signing on Tuesday.
Watson said the team also could buy down veteran midfielder Jan Gregus’ contract to open another designated-player slot alongside Reynoso and young Uruguayan midfielder Thomas Chacon.
The new labor agreement ratified in June between owners and players also creates roster spots starting next season to add as many as three players 22 or younger. Those players will have a reduced charge on each team’s salary cap.
Watson said team management is doing its midseason evaluations and envisioning what next year’s roster might look like. He called those discussions “ongoing.”
“We’ll figure out what we want to do and what’s best for the club,” he said in a video conference call with reporters on Tuesday.
Shake it up
Heath indicated Tuesday there would be more lineup shuffling after Saturday’s 3-1 loss at FC Dallas and with his team playing two-game weeks back to back.
Veteran defensive midfielder and captain Ozzie Alonso didn’t travel Wednesday and was rested as maintenance in a reconfigured schedule when the Loons will three games in seven days starting Sunday at Allianz Field. Young midfielder Thomas Chacon stayed behind, too, because of a knock he took during training.
Heath’s four substitutes to start Saturday’s second half were just the start of changes. Mason Toye moved into Wednesday’s 11 for Luis Amarilla in a remade front in which Kevin Molino and Ethan Finlay also didn’t start. Raheem Edwards on the left and Robin Lod on the right played on either side of Toye, and Marlon Hairston started in the midfield with Dotson and Jan Gregus against Hairston’s former Houston team.
Reynoso’s integration started Wednesday when he joined the team for the trip to Houston. He was a second-half sub in the 71st minute when his team trailed 3-0.
“I thought there was some excellent play,” Heath said. “We know we got a good player. We know even from the little glimpses tonight, looking for that little killer pass between people or between the lines, we’ll have to work on that. Considering he hasn’t played since March, I thought he was excellent.”
Reynoso’s MLS debut came in the same game former Loons Darwin Quintero and Christian Ramirez met their old mates. Quintero played against his former team for the time since last November’s trade sent him to Houston in a deal that brought back Hairston. Ramirez scored a goal in the Dynamo’s 2-0 victory over the Loons in Houston last September.
“We know what’s coming,” Heath said. “Every player who plays against his old team wants to do well and show them what they’re missing. You make decisions for the club. If they’re right or if they’re wrong, only time will tell with that. But the minute they leave, I wish them all the best.”