Minnesota United striker Luis Amarilla remains more than 5,000 miles from home, but he’s out of his apartment after two months stuck inside and made a discovery when he and most of his teammates started training voluntarily, if individually, on the team’s grass training fields two weeks ago.
It’s almost summer now.
“The field is in great condition,” he said. “It’s beautiful and it makes us happy.”
It was still winter when MLS suspended its season March 12 because of the coronavirus pandemic. Players went home and stayed “in market” until these last two weeks. He left South America in summer when he joined the Loons for training in Florida in February. Days later found himself smack in a Minnesota winter – or any real winter, for that matter – for the first time.
He has spent two months far from his family and friends in Paraguay and isolated from his new Minnesota United teammates as well while he tried to stay fit at home. Teammate and Uruguayan teenager Thomas Chacon has done the same.
“You sometimes have to make certain sacrifices in all this,” Amarilla said through an interpreter in an interview conducted by team employees after a Wednesday training session in Blaine. “The truth is, I do miss my family very much. I won’t deny that I hope to see them soon. Everything that’s happening is very sad, but we also have to face the situation and be realistic. So all that’s left for me is to wait, wait that this gets resolved with a happy ending.”
Amarilla has run and worked on his skills alone as have his teammates while they wait for approval to begin training in small groups and then in full team training. While they do, MLS and its players work on plans to resume playing, presumably with a month-long, World Cup-type tournament involving all 26 teams quarantined at a Disney resort in Orlando.
“It has been great to train with the group and see your teammates,” Amarilla said. “It’s satisfactory, obviously, to start over again with the hope that we can start to compete again.”
Ranjitsingh gets green card
Backup goalkeeper Greg Ranjitsingh has received his U.S. Green Card and will no longer occupy an international roster spot, the team announced this morning.
He was selected 16th in last winter's waiver draft after he had been signed by Orlando City SC in 2018. He lead Louisville City to USL Cup titles in 2017 and 2018 before that.
The Loons currently have six players designated as international of the eight allowed.
Next two season-ticket payments suspended
MNUFC has sent season-ticket members saying it will suspend payments due June 1 and July 1 because “the path forward to our games at Allianz Field is still unclear.”
The team previously deferred season-ticket payments due April 1 and May 1. “We would love to be sending you news about the resumption of the 2020 MLS season, but at least for now, we’re still in a holding pattern.”
The Loons previously targeted June 8 as a date to resume the season, which clearly now won’t happen while the league and its players consider that Orlando tournament concept.