For the first time in weeks, Minnesota United FC had a pretty much full-squad training session Thursday.
With the return of defender Francisco Calvo and midfielders Kevin Molino and Rasmus Schuller from national team duty (with Costa Rica, Trinidad and Tobago and Finland, respectively), United had 25 players on the pitch.
The only two missing were defender Thomas de Villardi, who endured a season-ending Achilles injury, and midfielder Bernardo Anor, who is on the disabled list with a leg injury.
"They've all come back fit, which is always a bonus," coach Adrian Heath said of the national team players. "And obviously, Kevin's the only one who played ... in both [matches], so he's had a little bit more of a rest day today. But he feels good. So I would think there's a great chance that he be involved. Calvo, [too]. We''ll wait on Schuller to decide which way we want to go with the midfield."
Heath said he has a team in mind for the 7 p.m. Saturday matchup with Real Salt Lake at TCF Bank Stadium and will go through that with the players tomorrow.
In the second half of United's 5-2 loss at the New England Revolution this past weekend, the Loons' fielded a formation with three center-backs and had a much better 45-minutes than in the first half. Calvo said Costa Rica plays with three center-backs, so he is familiar with that lineup. But he doesn't think its Heath's first choice.
"I think that the coach likes the four in the back," Calvo said. "But if he has to change for three in the back, we can do it. I'm pretty sure we can train in both systems."
Midfielder/forward Josh Gatt is one of seven United players who has not made an official MLS apperance for the club yet even despite a depleted roster this past weekend. And after taking out goalkeepers as well as players who haven't played becaue of injuries, he's just one of two.
"He's gotten better by the week, and I think his training this week has been such that he has certainly given me more reason to include him, whether it be in the 18[-man match-day squad] or whether it be in the starting lineup," Heath said of Gatt. "But he's certainly getting closer now."