Like when poor Wi-Fi derails a Netflix binge-watching session, Minnesota United's season is buffering.
With 19 matches of 34 played, United sits at 5-11-3, barely missing out on dead-last in the 22-team league thanks to several tiebreakers with D.C. United. There's really only one thing the Loons can do to revive their inaugural year.
"We all just need to click the refresh button," forward Christian Ramirez said after the team's 1-0 loss to the Columbus Crew SC on Tuesday.
Part of this rejuvenation will come from a lengthy break. The squad is off through Sunday and doesn't play again until a friendly July 15. League play resumes July 19.
But before those next matches, some new faces likely will appear on United's roster.
"Transfer window is around the corner," coach Adrian Heath said Tuesday. "Let's see if we can go and get some players to help us with both working on the team and with the squad in depth. That's what we're trying to do."
Major League Soccer's secondary transfer window opens Monday and runs through Aug. 9. This window, like the primary one that ran from Feb. 14 to May 8, allows MLS teams to acquire new players from international transfers or intraleague trades.
Heath has made it clear that he is looking for three to four additions — ideally one each at goalkeeper, defender, midfielder and forward — to provide depth to his shallow bench. He also is hoping that incoming players will increase the competition level and motivate his current players to step it up or lose their spots.
This already has seemed to start working with the window not officially open yet. Defender Justin Davis, who has played only 373 minutes through six MLS matches for United this season, started Tuesday with the squad riddled with absences. Even with starting left back Marc Burch out until at least mid-August after having bilateral sports hernia surgery, Davis isn't sure his minutes will increase.
"Not being in the lineup as much as I'm used to, it's a battle," Davis said. "I'm trying to take the fitness I got from [Tuesday], trying to do a little bit of extra in the days off and be ready to go for the friendly. And then hopefully, Burch is still out. I don't know what the plan is moving forward with the transfer window opening up, but I'll see what happens."
United also might move some players off the roster. For example, goalkeeper John Alvbage's loan from his Swedish club runs out July 15, and Patrick McLain has taken to backing up starter Bobby Shuttleworth. With Alvbage taking up a coveted international spot on the roster, his time in Minnesota might be ending.
And for young players such as midfielder Ish Jome who need more playing time, additions might lead to loan spells.
"It'll all be dependent on what we bring in and if everybody is fit and healthy," Heath said. "Now whether we try to get him games out of here, a lot of that will depend on who comes in and what positions come in, and what strength in depth we've got."