His new Minnesota United teammates, after fewer than two weeks, can see the talent.

But what do they call their new striker signed to play with fellow Argentine and former Boca Juniors teammate Emanuel Reynoso?

Will it be Ramon, his first name? Will it be Abila, his surname?

Or will it be "Wanchope" — (Whan-chope-eh) — a nickname given Ramon Abila in his youth for his gangly body and a playing style similar to that of former Costa Rican star Paulo Wanchope, who once played with West Ham and Manchester City in England's Premier League.

Loons technical director Mark Watson worked diligently to acquire Abila from Boca Juniors to play alongside new Loons star Reynoso. Abila arrived in Minnesota last week on a loan for a season that begins Friday at Seattle.

Watson was asked what to call the club's new player.

"Your guess is as good as mine," Watson said. "From my research and talking to him, it's either `Whan-chop' or `Whan-chope-eh,' but everyone just calls him `Wancho.' We have three possibilities just on his nickname."

Abila's new teammates seem to prefer three syllables.

"The lads are calling him `Whan-chope-eh' and we'll follow their lead," coach Adrian Heath said. "Over the next couple weeks, we'll have an idea what he's going to be called. He has settled in really well, which is really good."

Abila already fits well beside Reynoso but isn't in game shape yet. Heath said he's undecided how he'll use Abila on Friday.

"He has not played a lot of football," Heath said by video call with reporters Wednesday. "The last thing we want to do is start and risk him. Sometimes starting players get through it because of the adrenaline. It's something we'll speak about tomorrow and go from there."

Heath was the one who took to calling Reynoso — nicknamed Bebelo (baby) in Argentina — "Rey" for simplicity's sake.

Veteran Michael Boxall prefers the Spanish pronunciation.

"That's sticking for sure," Boxall said. "We love that for him. He hasn't been here for too long, but there's glimpses we've seen of his personality. We just started to see how he's going to fit into the group and really help us. He's definitely 'Whan-chope-eh' to us."

Expanding their audience

Nineteen of 29 regular-season games carried by Bally Sports North will be simulcast on over-the-air The CW Twin Cities this season for streaming subscribers who have cut the cable cord.

Those 19 simulcast games start with the April 24 home opener against Real Salt Lake and end with MLS's "Decision Day" regular-season finale at the LA Galaxy on Nov. 7.

The other five games in the 34-game schedule will be televised nationally.

Decisions …

Heath rotated goalkeepers Tyler Miller and Dayne St. Clair in four preseason games and said he has decided who'll start Friday. He's not saying who.

"I know in my head what the team will be," Heath said. "They both had a really, really good preseason. Tyler has come back (from hip surgeries) and not missed a beat. We have a decision to make and we'll address that at the right time."

Heath said the club still intends to sign two more players, one with targeted-allocation money and another to a Designated Player slot. The two names to watch: French first-division forward Adrien Hunou for the DP slot and Argentina left-side attacker Franco Fragapane.

"We're probably closer on one than the other," Heath said.


• Starting center-back Bakaye Dibassy's preseason thigh injury persists, and Heath said there are a "couple decisions on a couple players" — including Dibassy — he'll have to make for Friday's lineup.

• When asked, Boxall mentioned former USL Championship defender D.J. Taylor and first-round pick Justin McMaster as two newcomers who stood out in preseason. Boxall said Taylor can "do more than a capable job" backing up Romain Metanire at right back and called striker McMaster from Wake Forest "very sharp, shifty on the ball. He's fighting for minutes already," Boxall said.