Minnesota United's CONCACAF Gold Cup finalist returned to practice Friday at the National Sports Center.
Jermaine Taylor started and played all 90 minutes of every match in Jamaica's tournament, including a close 2-1 loss in the final to the U.S. on Wednesday. The defender returned to Minnesota on Thursday night, and coach Adrian Heath said Taylor will be available to play 7 p.m. Saturday against D.C. United at TCF Bank Stadium.
Taylor made the Gold Cup Best 11 at center-back. And while he isn't a regular starter at United, having played 10 matches and started four for the Loons, this national team performance might have done a lot to prove he deserves more playing time.
"Everything that you do as a player comes down to the coach. He's the one who makes the decision," Taylor said. "I know what I'm capable of doing, but the full chance wasn't given to me, which I know how that works in MLS and sometimes with other teams. But at the same time, the Gold Cup did a lot for me in terms of getting games, a full 90 minutes, which I think [Heath] watched every game. So he knew what I was about and everything. But the ultimate decision is gong to be on him."
Heath said Taylor, a 32-year-old MLS veteran, has only benefited from his time on the international stage.
"If you were to ask Jermaine, one of the issues he's had over the last year or so is he's always been on the bench," Heath said. "He comes in, and he plays for a game. And then he goes back out and plays for a few minutes at the end of the game when teams change the shape. And the one thing about players, and I always say, you need to play regular. And this has been a great piece for him. And for us, it's been a blessing in disguise that now we have somebody who is completely match fit and obviously got a lot of confidence from playing so well in the competition. So it's another positive bit of news for us."
United had pretty much the full roster at practice Friday. Just defenders Marc Burch (groin), Thomas de Villardi (Achilles) and Joe Greenspan (concussion) trained separately. But there was one notable absence in right-back Jerome Thiesson.
"Jerry's wife was having the baby this morning, hopefully," Heath said. "Obviously, we'll be dictated by that situation, but he's really positive he'll be a father this morning."
So early congrats to Jerry and Ivana on their first child!