Minnesota United veteran midfielder Ethan Finlay has been persistent since February training in Florida, lobbying coach Adrian Heath about a starter’s spot after he missed nearly a year because of knee surgery.

Could this be the week now that Heath is mulling lineup changes after a 3-2 loss to the L.A. Galaxy and because midfielder Rasmus Schuller is out for Saturday’s game at New England because of a thigh injury?

“Ethan just wants to play,” Heath said. “He has worked hard enough to put himself in position. We’ll see on Saturday what we go with.”

Finlay has come off the bench in each of United’s first three games. He started all seven games he played before he tore his anterior cruciate ligament early last season.

“I’m always going to push the envelope and do it in a respectful way,” Finlay said. “But, absolutely, that’s my job. I’m a competitor and I always think I can make the team better, and it’s up to him to decide if that’s the case from a starting perspective or coming off the bench.”

Room for more

United star Darwin Quintero went to Mexico during the team’s bye a week ago to finalize getting his green card that allows him to work and live permanently in the United States. By doing so, it opens one international player spot on the team’s roster for the rest of the season.

That gives flexibility to a team Heath said still wants to add before the MLS transfer window ends in May.

“We’re really pleased with what we’ve got,” Heath said, “but we’re still trying to add one or two to that if we can before the deadline.”

Molino ‘getting there’

More than a year after he tore his other ACL in a return to Orlando, United attacking midfielder Kevin Molino is nearing the end of a long road back. Back to participating fully in training sessions, he has aimed his return at the home opener April 13 in new Allianz Field.

He was injured March 10, 2018, in the season’s second game at Orlando, where he played when he tore his right ACL in 2015.

“I’m not hurrying at all,” Molino said. “It’s a year now. Next month, couple days it’s going to be 13 months and I’m getting there. I never want to feel I shortchanged my teammates. I want to go out there fully ready to play.”