Minnesota United midfielder Robin Lod and three other starters leave Monday to join their national teams for FIFA international play and none — including Jan Gregus, Romain Metanire and Kei Kamara — is due back for a first-round playoff game against Colorado in two weeks.
Lod said he’s “hoping” he won’t miss any MLS Cup playoff games. But unless a nine-day quarantine period coming back from Europe is changed, he will.
He hasn’t participated in Finland’s past two camps. Finland has qualified for its first major tournament, the 2020 European championship delayed until next summer.
“Such a pride thing to play for your country,” Lod said. “That’s something I love to do, especially with the Euros coming next year. There’s not that many camps before that. So if there’s a chance, I need to go and show my face. It’s a tough situation because obviously I want to be here and I want to be there.”
Tied with teammate Kevin Molino with nine goals in all competitions, Lod played a new role Sunday: up front when the Loons played without injured strikers Kei Kamara and Aaron Schoenfeld.
Lod played forward with midfielders Emanuel Reynoso, Molino and Ethan Finlay just behind him and assisted on all three goals, two by Molino and on Reynoso’s first MLS goal.
The Loons also played without captain Ozzie Alonso (leg/hamstring) and defender Michael Boxall (knee) aimed toward being fit for the playoffs.
Loons defender Brent Kallman has worn since July an “End Racism” warmup shirt while teammates wear “Black Lives Matter” shirts. He has stood during a silent pause before games while his teammates kneel, some with fists raised, in protest for racial equality.
Heath was asked Sunday if Kallman has given him or teammates an explanation.
“He has and I fully support him,” Heath said. “He has his reasons. Brent spoke to his teammates. He can express himself the way that he feels is right. The one thing we all know is he’s a great guy, he’s a great teammate and he stands for something different. So I just think we have to respect that.
“Last time I looked, we’re in a democratic society where people are free to do what they want to do. His teammates know what he thinks of them. He knows what the social issues is that he thinks about. So you know, he does it with our support.”
• Striker Luis Amarilla will rehab his ankle in Minnesota initially, then continue it back home in South America, Heath said. The Loons on Saturday pronounced surgery successful. He is on a one-year loan from Velez Sarsfield in Argentina, with an option to buy his rights.
• Starting left back Chase Gasper and midfielder Hassani Dotson returned Sunday as second-half subs. Dotson is back sooner than Heath expected from an ankle injury three weeks ago.
• The second half was briefly delayed to treat a bloody laceration on Gregus’ forehead. FC Dallas’ Thiago Santos stepped on his head after a collision.
• Newly signed forward Foster Langsdorf from Reno 1868 FC subbed in the 80th minute for Molino. The USL Championship club ceased operations Friday.