Not all of them started their trips back in a speedboat as striker Kei Kamara did from Africa, but four Minnesota United players returning from national-team play are expected to be available for selection in Sunday's first-round home playoff game against Colorado.
That's if Slovakia's Jan Gregus, Finland's Robin Lod, Madagascar's Romain Metanire and Sierra Leone's Kei Kamara all test negative for COVID-19 until then and every last one returns by Sunday.
Without MLS chartering flights intended to reduce their exposure to the virus, all four would have been in quarantine and not on the field Sunday.
Kamara took a rest day Friday after the long trip back that started by motorboat to the airport. Gregus and Metanire were en route Friday and Lod is expected back Saturday. No MLS team sent more players to compete in the November FIFA window than four each from the Loons and LAFC.
"The clubs asked questions and the league responded," Loons coach Adrian Heath said. "We're all eternally grateful … I'm glad the league has done what they've done. They've bent over backwards to be fair to get these players back. It has been a welcome boost, not only to me but to the group."
Colorado is expected to have all its players — including Chile national-team player Diego Rubio — available Sunday at Allianz Field.
"You don't want to go into the playoffs when four of your better players are not available for selection," Heath said. "I think common sense prevailed, providing they all test negative, which we're hoping."
Heath said captain Ozzie Alonso, starting center-back Michael Boxall, Jacori Hayes and Aaron Schoenfeld all returned from injuries during a two-week gap in play and trained Friday.
Suddenly, his team is healthy.
"We've got a few decisions to make," Heath said in a Friday video call. "It has been a long time since we're actually looking at who we're going to leave out from the squad at the weekend."
Leave it to Lod
Heath said he's undecided whether Kamara will start against his former team or if Lod starts up top with Kevin Molino, Emanuel Reynoso and Ethan Finlay behind him. That worked well in a Decision Day victory over FC Dallas that clinched a first-round home playoff game for the second consecutive season.
"We'll see how Robin feels when he gets back," Heath said. "It's something we work on in training. It didn't surprise me it worked well."
Sunday's game reunites Kamara with a Colorado team for which he played until September's trade sent him to Minnesota.
"It's going to be weird with Kei on the other side," Rapids attacking midfielder Cole Bassett said. "When he first came here, I knew him as an MLS legend or one of the top goal scorers in the league. He scored goals everywhere, but I didn't know Kei the person. It was pretty fun to meet him and interact with him every single day. He taught me how to be a good pro and enjoy being in the locker room every single day."