Loons coach Adrian Heath on Monday called himself optimistic that star midfielder Emanuel Reynoso will be headed back to Minnesota United and Major League Soccer from his Argentina home by week's end.
"We're probably a bit more hopeful in the next few days," Heath told reporters in a video conference call from the team's training near Orlando. "We spoke to Rey yesterday and he feels hopefully we can sort this out and we can get him back here. There's one or two issues he needs to sort out at home."
Chosen a two-time MLS All Star, Reynoso hasn't yet reported for preseason training as his teammates did on Jan. 6. The club has called his absence due to personal matters. His hometown newspaper late last month reported Reynoso could face trial for a December 2021 arrest in which he was accused of making threats with a gun and beating a 16-year-old minor.
Media reports in Brazil and Europe have linked Reynoso to transfers with clubs in those countries. Included on Monday were ones that play in Portugal or Turkey.
"I have not heard that, no," Heath said. "I honestly haven't, but if they were, it wouldn't surprise me. He's a quality footballer. At the end of the day, I just want to get Rey here and start to get some work into him. We still have just about a month so we can get some work into him."
The season opener is Feb. 25 at Dallas FC in a rematch of last season's first-round playoff game.
Waiting for Kemar
Heath said he expected veteran defender Kemar Lawrence to join the team Wednesday in Florida, if not in time to get some action in the day's preseason friendly against Orlando City before the Loons return home to Minnesota.
"It's probably too early against Orlando, but it'll be nice to get him in and start to get some physical work and conditioning," Heath said.
Heath said Kemar has been delayed by "family issues down in Jamaica."
Center backs on the way
Heath also said he's hopeful new center backs — Swedish Under-22 initiative signee Mikael Marques and Mexico Liga MX's Miguel Tapias — will arrive "sooner rather than later." Tapias' contract with Pachuca in Liga MX expires after this season, but Heath suggested his club won't have to wait until the summer transfer to get the 26-year-old left center back here.
"Tapias had a great year last year," Heath said. "Marquez looks like he has a really big upside. We've addressed that area now and we just have to wait to get them in." The sooner they get here, the better it will be for everybody, Heath said.
Arriaga helping out
Veteran center back Brent Kallman missed the last four or five days because of ankle tendinitis. "Nothing that would be an issue for the opening game," Heath said.
Central midfielder Kervin Arriaga can — and has in camp — play that position while the Loons wait for center back reinforcements with Bakaye Dibassy out to start the season.
"We've seen him play there for Honduras," Heath said. "He has shown he can play there. He's very comfortable on the ball. He's quicker than people think, and with his size he can win the first ball."
Month to month
Heath called Dibassy "probably a month or two ahead of schedule" in his return from a ruptured quadriceps tendon, but its still likely "months more than weeks."
"He's still got an awful long way to go," Heath said. "It's a pretty rare injury; there's not a lot of study cases with this injury. So we'll take it week to week, month to month."
Former Minnesota United play-by-play guy Callum Williams and analyst Jamie Watson were named Monday in the next batch of television talent that will be part of Apple TV's new streaming deal with MLS that launches Wednesday. Analyst Kyndra de St. Aubin was previously chosen as part of the team.