Minnesota United embarked Tuesday on a real road trip bound for Los Angeles and Salt Lake City with inured Michael Boxall and Franco Fragapane aboard and healthy Ramon Abila missing.
The club's highest-paid player, Abila was designated neither starter nor substitute in Saturday's 2-1 comeback victory over Portland and won't be part of coach Adrian Heath's lineup for games Wednesday at LAFC and Saturday against Vancouver in Utah.
The Loons obtained Abila from Argentina's famed Boca Juniors team in April on a one-year loan that could end before that.
He played there with Loons star playmaker Emanuel Reynoso before Reynoso joined MLS and Minnesota United a year ago.
At age 31, Abila is listed as the Loons' highest-paid player in salaries published by the MLS Players Association in May with his total compensation of $1.1 million. That's more than Reynoso's $966,910 and Robin Lod's $952,496.
Heath made it clear Abila was available to play against the Timbers, but didn't. His absence on the team's traveling party made it clear again.
"We can only pick 20," Heath said after training Tuesday. "We picked the 20 that we think is going to be best suited for that particular game. We'll move on from them."
Abila has played mostly as a second-half substitute since the Loons acquired French first-division striker Adrien Hunou in May.
Abila last played in a July 7 game at Colorado – a 2-0 loss that angered Heath for his team's lack of effort – as a second-half substitute. He received a red card in the 86th minute that suspended him for the team's next game, a 1-0 home victory over Seattle.
He received it after video review determined he jabbed a Colorado player in the back as both teams jostled for position before a free kick.
Three days later, Heath said, "When I played there was one camera that followed the ball. You could get away with an awful lot and people did. These days, every game is six, seven cameras and VAR (video-assisted referee) with another look at it and you're not going to get away with it. If you put yourself in that position, then you have to understand what the consequences are."
After Abila served his one-game suspension, he was left out of the lineup the next game, Saturday's game against Portland.
Both Boxall and Fragapane traveled with the Loons Tuesday, but Heath said it's unlikely either player, particularly Fragapane, will play in L.A.
Heath said Boxall – out since July 3 with a thigh injury that kept him from playing for New Zealand in the Olympics — could play by Saturday against Vancouver. He is listed as questionable for Wednesday.
But Heath called it a "tall order" for Fragapane to play by then because of a thigh injury that sidelined him for the Portland game.
Fragapane was out working on the grass in Blaine on Tuesday. Heath said Fragapane's presence on the two-game trip will allow him to get treatment and training from the team's traveling physiotherapists.
The Whitecaps are playing their home games in Real Salt Lake's stadium because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
With one striker out Wednesday, the Loons announced on Tuesday the retirement of 25-year-old striker Foster Langsdorf without any other details.
A Stanford graduate, he was signed last fall from USL Championship's Reno 1868 FC after he played much of his pro career with Portland Timbers II. He played two games for the Loons – last year's regular-season finale against Dallas and a May 1 game against Austin FC.
He was loaned to the Tampa Bay Rowdies in June and returned this month to the Loons. His teammates applauded him with a sendoff at a recent training.