Minnesota United coach Adrian Heath on Saturday said he hopes injured striker Luis Amarilla returns next season, but deflected a question about team captain and veteran defensive midfielder Ozzie Alonso’s future.
Amarilla’s one-season loan from Argentina’s Velez Sarsfield ends after the season. The Loons have a team option on Alonso’s contract for next season. He signed a three-year contract before the 2019 season.
Leading goal scorer Kevin Molino’s contract expires and he becomes a free agent after this season as well.
Alonso turned 35 in November. When asked about his future, Heath on Saturday was noncommittal.
“We’ve got five, six players in a similar boat. I’ve not wanted to get distracted,” Heath said. “When the season is over, whenever that might be, we have an awful lot of big decisions to make. But we’ll make those when the season is over.”
Two weeks ago, Heath said negotiations to re-sign Molino were “very, very close” but said those discussions were left in Molino’s hands. Molino made $546,254 total compensation in 2019.
“Hopefully, we can get to the stage when he signs a new deal and stays here,” Heath said.
Heath said he has talked to Amarilla, who had season-ending ankle surgery last month, about returning. He said the team also intends to talk to Velez Sarsfield officials about obtaining Amarilla beyond this season “sooner rather than later.”
Amarilla, 25, scored three goals in all competitions but didn’t play after late August.
“We’d like to bring him back,” Heath said. “I think there’s a genuine willingness on his part to come back. … The fact he’s somebody else’s player, we have to respect that.”