New Minnesota United forward Angelo Rodriguez will likely see his debut 7 p.m. Saturday at TCF Bank Stadium when the Loons take on the Seattle Sounders.
United completed the last step in making Rodriguez's move final, trading $50,000 of general allocation money to the Colorado Rapids for an international roster spot on Wednesday. It was kind of a funny trade, considering the Loons received that same amount of money along with Eric Miller when sending Sam Nicholson and his international slot to Colorado back in May. So the team effectively just reversed part of that transaction.
But anyhow, United coach Adrian Heath said Rodriguez will be an option at the weekend, though whether he starts or comes off the bench remains to be seen.
The Loons might need that star power, as the team's other designated player as well as team captain are missing most of this week's training while at the MLS All-Star Game at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday in Atlanta against Italian club Juventus. Playmaker Darwin Quintero and center back Francisco Calvo flew from this past Saturday's opponent Vancouver back to Minnesota on Sunday before flying to Atlanta on Monday. The pair will return to Minneapolis on Thursday but won't be back to practice until Friday.
Heath said he's holding his breath that the two come back healthy, adding he hopes Atlanta and All-Star coach Gerardo "Tata" Martino decides to field a very Eastern conference-heavy lineup, since those are the players that would most affect his club team's place in the standings.
"We reluctantly let [Quintero] go because he could have done with the break, but the rules state if we don’t, he wouldn’t have been eligible for the weekend anyway," Heath said of Quintero's late addition to the roster Monday after two dropouts. "Bearing the nature of how important this game is for us at the weekend, we've been talking a lot with the defenders about [Raul] Ruidiaz and about the way Seattle approaches the game, and one of your key defenders [in Calvo] is not there. So that's never ideal."
The Loons are also without an outside back in rookie Carter Manley, but that's for a more positive reason. The team on Tuesday loaned Manley to the Las Vegas Lights FC of the United Soccer League. While the Loons have the ability to recall Manley at any time the rest of this season, Manley will likely feature for Las Vegas on Saturday in a game against the Rio Grande Valley Toros.
Heath said with left back Marc Burch fit and healthy and outside back Jerome Thiesson "around the corner" with his calf injury, the team "can actually go and get [Manley] some games."
"I would expect in the next week or so one or two others to do it as well," Heath said of more loan opportunities for young players. "That’s what we're trying to do."
Heath also commented on how Ethan Finlay and Kevin Molino are rehabbing from ACL tears. He said both are in incredible condition for only being about four months out of the injury. But the team will still take its time working them back to full fitness for next season.
And as far as the transfer window, which closes in a week on Aug. 8, Heath said he talks to sporting director Manny Lagos and director of player personnel Amos Magee every day about the possibility of making moves to strengthen depth in two or three positions.
"If we can do something, great," Heath said. "If we can't, then we go to the next [window]."