Minnesota United’s connections helped it sign not one or two, but three players from Reno 1868 FC in the USL Championship for help approaching regular season’s end and the playoffs.
Loons technical director Mark Watson worked with Reno coach Ian Russell for five MLS seasons in San Jose. Russell coached English midfielder/defender Sam Gleadle, Portland Timbers Academy forward product Foster Langsdorf and former San Jose midfielder Kevin Partida into the USL Championship playoffs, while Loons assistant coach Sean McAuley worked with Langsdorf in Portland.
All three players are 24 or 25 years old.
Loons coach Adrian Heath said he expects Gleadle to be available by Wednesday’s game against Chicago and Langsdorf and Partida by next Sunday’s regular-season finale against FC Dallas.
“In light of the situation that we’ve found ourselves down bodies, this will give us opportunities to not only look at these guys,” Heath said, “but the way football is these days, who knows: They could find themselves in the thick of it when we get around to the playoffs.”
Gleadle has played for Reno the past two seasons. Heath calls him a versatile player who can play both fullback positions.
“Two good feet and really quick,” Heath said.
Get better soon
Sunday’s postponement gives the injury-ravaged Loons time to heal before Wednesday’s game against Chicago.
Heath called his team “held together by cello tape at the minute” after last Wednesday game in which team captain Ozzie Alonso injured the same leg that kept him out for seven games recently. Alonso’s substitute, Jacori Hayes, left the game with a groin strain. Defender Michael Boxall banged his leg in a collision with the goalpost. Attacking midfielder Emanuel Reynoso left after getting kicked in the ankle, and striker Aaron Schoenfeld injured his calf.
• Injured midfielder Hassani Dotson ran lightly last week and Heath sounded hopeful that he won’t be out five weeks or more.
• Heath said injured striker Luis Amarilla will have ankle surgery this coming week that will create an international roster spot for rookie defender Noah Billingsley, who was loaned to Las Vegas Lights FC in August.