Minnesota United started preseason play with Saturday's 9-0 shutout over USL Championship club Charleston Battery in Florida and did so with seven players away on national-team duty and the current roster as many as three players short.
Loons coach Adrian Heath acknowledged his club has had discussions to reunite star midfielder Emanuel Reynoso with a Boca Juniors teammate, 31-year-old striker Ramon Abila who would fill a need that also includes a left-side attacker to replace Kevin Molino.
"We know we're still a couple bodies short," Heath said. "We're hopeful we can get something done with not only him, but maybe one or two more before the season starts."
Heath has talked about acquiring attacking players who can build chemistry with Reynoso, who arrived last summer from Argentina. What better way than obtain a scorer with whom he has already played?
"They've got a good relationship," Heath said Saturday in a video conference call. "The first thing you do is ask people who have played with him. Rey has given him a glowing report. He thinks he's a top player. Playing for Boca Juniors is no mean feat. He has played for them and scored goals in big games. There is talent there for sure."
Heath said, "nothing is signed," but called Abila "one of two or three other players we are looking at in this moment of time."
Making an impression
Newcomer Niko Hansen acquired last week in a trade with Houston and veteran Ethan Finlay scored twice and Heath quipped about filling Molino's absence, saying "if Niko keeps playing like he showed this morning, that might have to be something we have to think about."
Fellow newcomer Juan Agudelo, striker Foster Langsdorf and rookies Justin McMaster and Patrick Weah each scored, as did veteran Ozzie Alonso on a penalty kick.
Heath said he texted with midfielder Hassani Dotson, who is playing in Mexico with the U.S. Under-23 national team. Dotson declared himself fit for Sunday's Concacaf Olympic qualifying semifinal with a ticket to the Tokyo Olympics on the line.
Dotson rolled his ankle in Wednesday's second half during a 1-0 loss to Mexico.
Two-time MLS Defender of the Year Ike Opara is not with the team training in Deltona, Fla., and Heath doesn't expect him to do so before April 16 season opener. He hasn't played a game in more than a year because of an undisclosed condition/injury.
"Ideally we'd like to get something sorted before the season is started," Heath said.
• Veteran goalkeeper Tyler Miller played his first game since hip surgeries last summer, went all 90 minutes and got the clean sheet. "It's nice to see him back on the grass," Heath said
• Starting center back Bakaye Dibassy didn't play. Heath called him "virtually 100 percent" back from a thigh strain. Veteran Brent Kallman started for him while former USL defender D.J. Taylor played all 90 minutes at right back for Romain Metanire, who is with his Madagascar national team.