Minnesota United coach Adrian Heath called his team's pursuit of a left-side attacker to replace Kevin Molino "closer than we have been the last few weeks."

He also called a deal to acquire Boca Juniors striker Ramon Abila "very close" and said he hoped it would be completed by Friday.

Heath intends to bring Abila to Florida before the Loons complete training there end of next week, either to play alongside former Boca Juniors teammate Emanuel Reynoso or just to get to know his new teammates.

The Loons could add as many as three players before the team's April 16 season opener at Seattle. Heath said he expects the team will use a "designated player" slot to acquire one of those three players. They have one available after they moved DP midfielder Thomas Chacon to a "youth transfer spot" before they loaned him to Uruguayan first division Liverpool F.C. back home.

Dotson watches

Loons midfielder Hassani Dotson has rejoined the team in Orlando and watched Wednesday's 5-2 preseason victory over Columbus Crew from a distance while he quarantines.

His U.S. U-23 team's CONCACAF Olympic qualifying tournament ended Sunday with a 2-1 loss to Honduras in a semifinal game in Guadalajara, Mexico. That was one victory away from the Tokyo Olympics.

"He's very disappointed," Heath said. "We're pleased with his contribution. We spoke to the people with the Under-23 team and they're absolutely delighted with his contribution on and off the field. He has a real leadership quality. There's a lot more to come from him."

Hansen scores again

Reynoso, newcomer Niko Hansen, trialist Rashawn Dally and homegrown player Patrick Weah all scored goals Wednesday and veteran Ethan Finlay scored on a penalty kick.

Hansen and Finlay have scored three goals each and Weah twice in two preseason games so far. The Loons have outscored Charleston Battery and MLS opponent Columbus 14-2 in those games.

"I know it's only preseason, but he has shown real good understanding of his role and how we want to play here," Heath said of Hansen, who was acquired in a trade recently. "It's slightly different than in Houston. He's a really good athlete, very quick. Naturally right-footed playing on the left, it open ups the field and goal to him."

St. Clair "fit and sharp"

Goalkeeper Dayne St. Clair on Wednesday was back from his Canadian national team's World Cup qualifiers. He started the game and played all 90 minutes after veteran Tyler Miller played Saturday's 9-0 victor over Charleston.

"He looks fit and sharp," Heath said, referring to St. Clair. "We'll make sure we get both of them enough minutes so that they're sharp enough (by opening day)."

OId friend

Molino didn't play for his new team — MLS champion Columbus — on Wednesday because of a slight hamstring injury, but he visited with his former teammates and coach before the game.

"We had a good chat with him," Heath said. "He came in and gave everybody a good hug before the game. Thanked everybody, gave me a big hug and said thanks for everything. Hey, he goes with our best.

"I got Kevin for nothing when he was 18 years of age and seen him grow up. He goes with my blessing, every decision he makes."


  • Veteran striker Juan Agudelo played Wednesday's first 50 minutes, then left with a slight hamstring injury. "Wasn't too bad," Heath said. "Other than that, we came out unscathed. There was a lot of pleasing stuff again today."
  • Heath expects Jan Gregus, Robin Lod, Romain Metanire and Jukka Raitala all to return from their respective national teams in Europe in coming days. All will have to quarantine before rejoining their teammates.