Minnesota United forward Abu Danladi traveled to Spain over the winter and consulted with specialists about troublesome hamstring injuries that sidetracked his 2018 season. Then he got kicked in one of his ankles during a collision with teammate Darwin Quintero during January training.
"I was more worried about him when it happened," Danladi said. "Sometimes you think it's OK, but you wake up the next day and there's a lot of pain."
The swelling kept him out of all preseason play, but the MLS draft's No. 1 overall pick in 2017 calls himself ready to play. United coach Adrian Heath said he'll wait at least another week and "four extra days of real hard work" before Danladi plays.
"At the moment, everything is good," Danladi said. "My hamstring is good, 100 percent. I'll just keep doing all the things I have to do."
United on Friday set its 25-man opening-day roster and in doing so exercised an offseason, guaranteed-contract buyout with veteran defensive midfielder Sam Cronin, 32, out since August 2017 because of concussion symptoms.
"It's a really sad day when a player has to finish before his time," Heath said. "It goes quick enough as it is. I know he'll be successful at whatever he does because he's that type of kid."
United traveled to Vancouver with 19 players. It sent Collin Martin, Dayne St. Clair, Carter Manley and Wyatt Omsberg to its new Madison, Wis., affiliate, to play two preseason games in four days.
Eric Miller and injured Kevin Molino remain in Minnesota.
"We couldn't have done that last year," Heath said. "We didn't have the depth."
Head coach said it
Heath after his team trained Thursday and Friday at B.C. Place stadium before Saturday's opener: "Rightly, I think we can have some optimism. We've had a good preseason. We have some really good players. Now it's time for us to start to deliver."
Striker Angelo Rodriguez participated partly in Friday's workout. He is recovering from a nagging groin injury.
Serving his time
United goalkeeping coach John Pascarella is suspended for the season's first two games because of irresponsible behavior during an incident against Colorado late last season.