Signed last winter to become his new team’s starter, Paraguayan striker Luis Amarilla missed his seventh consecutive game Saturday against FC Cincinnati, with his future both near and distant uncertain.
An injection in his ankle late last month didn’t significantly resolve an injury that has sidelined him since he last played as a second-half substitute on Sept. 2 at Houston.
Loons coach Adrian Heath said Thursday that he expects Amarilla, 25, wouldn’t play Saturday or Tuesday at Nashville and said surgery could be an option. Amarilla wasn’t in the 18 on Saturday.
Amarilla is on loan this season from Argentina club Velez Sarsfield, with the Loons’ option to buy his rights in a transfer at season’s end. That loan timeline and Amarilla’s injury creates a situation Heath calls “obviously incredibly frustrating, more so for the player,” Heath said.
“The kid is sort of heartbroken, devastated at his situation,” Heath said. “We’re no clearer is he going to recover now or does he need an operation? This is not a decision we can make today. The decision [on a transfer] was always to make at the end of the season. That’s no different now. We’d like to get some sort of resolution whether he needs an operation or can we get him on the field.
“It has not been great for either of us at this moment in time. I do feel for the kid. He is very upset about the current situation.”
The Loons acquired veteran striker Kei Kamara after both Amarilla and Aaron Schoenfeld were injured. They dealt forward Mason Toye to Montreal on Thursday after Toye requested a trade.
“This is not just about Luis now,” Heath said. “Don’t forget, this is not our play. This is Velez Sarsfield’s play. We’ve got to speak to the kid, to the club before we come up with a decision.”
Molino on way back
Midfielder Kevin Molino was back in uniform Saturday and entered the game in the 60th minute; not long after he scored the Loons’ second goal in a 2-0 victory. Molino had last played Sept. 19, at Houston. Heath stayed with the same starting 11 he thought played so well in last week’s scoreless draw with Real Salt Lake.
Midfielders Ethan Finlay and Ozzie Alonso remained out, but Heath said they’d probably play in next Sunday’s home game against FC Dallas, if they’re not ready for Tuesday at Nashville.
Defender Brent Kallman was recalled from on loan to El Paso in the USL Championship and was designated a sub, too, on a night when Heath started a 4-3-3 formation: Kamara, Robin Lod and Emanuel Reynoso up front; Jacori Hayes, Hassani Dotson and Jan Gregus in the midfield and Chase Gasper, Bakaye Dibassy, Michael Boxall and Romain Metanire on the back line. Dayne St. Clair started in goal again.
Former United academy attacker Bajung Darboe joined Philadelphia Union’s academy Friday after he played for the Loons’ Under-17 team at age 13. He’ll turn 14 next month. As many as 17 prospects relocated to MLS team academies in Cincinnati, Kansas City, Portland, Utah, Austin, Texas, and Philadelphia after the Loons rebuilt their system, unveiling a “Youth Development Program” intended to produce a pro U-23 reserve/second team that connects to the club’s first team. They haven’t yet fielded teams that will play in “MLS Next” that started last month.