Back from his home in Finland, new Minnesota United midfielder Robin Lod trained with teammates Friday and will make his MLS debut Sunday against Portland, playing a game for the first time in seven weeks.
How much and in what role won’t be determined until he trains again on Saturday.
Lod had trained with the Finnish national team’s conditioning coach using a plan United staff sent with him when he returned home after he signed with United.
The trip allowed him to be present for the birth of his first child and to complete his U.S. immigration process there.
“I’m good,” Lod said after Friday’s session. “I’ve been training. I had a good plan working to get in better shape day by day, so I’m feeling good now.”
United coach Adrian Heath called Lod, 26, “available” for Sunday’s home game after he returned to Minnesota late Thursday night. The presence of Lod, an attacking midfielder, and the return of injured Kevin Molino from a hamstring injury gives Heath options to replace star Darwin Quintero, who is suspended because of yellow-card accumulations.
“Whether we start him and give him an hour or whether he comes off the bench, I would think some portion of him will be involved on Sunday,’’ Heath said. “Let’s see how he is [Saturday].”
United plays Portland again at Allianz Field on Wednesday in a U.S. Open Cup semifinal, with the winner headed to play the Atlanta United-Orlando City winner for the title.
“We have another big game on Wednesday,” Heath said. “So we’re going to have use one or two players sparingly this weekend.”
Quintero will be fresh for Wednesday’s game. Lod likely will be one of the five international players United is allowed to play in the Open Cup semifinal.
Lod said he is uncertain how much he can or will play Sunday.
“I’m excited to put the game shirt on and get on the field,’’ he said. “I’m really looking forward to it.”
Chacon on way?
Uruguayan media outlets Friday reported 18-year-old attacking midfielder Thomas Chacon is headed to the Loons for an expected large transfer fee, in what would be a major acquisition for the team.
He plays for Danubio FC in Uruguay’s top division and has played for the nation’s under-20 and under-17 teams.
United already has signed Lod and Wilfried Moimbe-Tahrat in the current MLS transfer window that started July 9 and ends next Friday and Heath said earlier Friday before the news broke out of Uruguay that one more could be made by the deadline.
“We have to keep building,” Heath said. “I would like to add another body if we can in the next few days.”
Moimbe-Tahrat will return to France next week to complete his U.S. immigration process there, just as Lod did by going home to Finland.