Minnesota United is still in a state of uncertainty when it comes to its center-back situation against the New York Red Bulls at 3 p.m. Saturday at TCF Bank Stadium.
With Brent Kallman as the lone sure-thing, the Loons are waiting on a last-minute call for new addition Michael Boxall. Boxall, from New Zealand, has been in Toronto since Tuesday sorting out his visa and passport, along with Scottish winger Sam Nicholson. While Nicholson returned to practice Friday and is available to play, Boxall's situation is a bit more complex.
"Different circumstances, we’d hoped Boxall would have been back. Obviously, his visa application, because of some of the countries he's been recently, is a lot more complicated than Sam’s," coach Adrian Heath said, referencing how Boxall had been in South Africa for his club team and Russia for the recent Confederations Cup. "We’re still hopeful, and if he gets back in time, then we'll have a decision to make, see how he feels. He has been working while he's been there, but it’s a case of wait and see."
Left-back Justin Davis played center-back for most of United's 0-0 draw against the Houston Dynamo this past Wednesday after Joe Greenspan left the match with a broken nose and concussion. Right-back Jerome Thiesson has also played center-back in a pinch this season. But with fellow right-back Kevin Venegas still a "couple days" away from fitness after a quad injury, a back-line like against Houston of Thiesson, Kallman, Davis and Ish Jome looks fairly likely if Boxall isn't ready to go.
Heath said midfielder Johan Venegas, who returned to the team from national team duty Thursday, might be available to play, while forward Abu Danladi might make the bench after recovering from a hamstring injury. Heath said while the team has rushed Danladi back too early previously because of necessity, the rookie has been completing two-a-days for a while now and worked very hard for a week to be ready.
Forward Brandon Allen will not be available to play, as he is on loan from the New York Red Bulls and ineligible to play against his team.