Aimed to join Minnesota United, former Columbus Crew striker Aaron Schoenfeld’s arrival in Minnesota will reunite him with more than former MLS teammate Ethan Finlay.
It also will bring him back together with Loons coach Adrian Heath, who tried to sign the 6-4 forward when Heath coached Orlando City.
Schoenfeld, now 29, scored five goals while playing sparingly in 51 gmes during four seasons in Columbus from 2012 to 2015. Then he went to Israel for four more seasons and, in his words, “found my form.”
“He’s somebody who has been in the league,” Heath said. “I have worked with Aaron before. He’s a little bit different than what we’ve got because of his size. Can he force his way in (to the lineup)? That will wait to be seen.”
Schoenfeld is a fourth striker in the mix, in addition to newly signed Paraguayan Luis Amarilla, promising Mason Toye and draft pick Matthew Bentley.
Heath notes Schoenfeld’s height makes him unique in a group that includes Toye’s athleticism and Amarilla’s many skills.
“Certainly with Aaron being 6-foot-4 -- putting him late on especially in home games when it’s tight and there’s not a lot of room in the box – I think he could give us an extra dimension. He’s another one who has learned his trade and now he gets good position between the full back and the center back on the back post. When it’s 6-4, it’s a problem.”
Finlay spoke well of Schoenfeld. Heath said he came to know Schoenfeld while trying to get him to sign in Orlando.
"I knew what type of guy we were getting," Heath said. "Another really good kid. Timing was right for him to come back (to the U.S. and MLS). He wants to come back. He's got a lot to prove because he wants to stay here and make his career back in the U.S. It's a good opportunity for him."
United returned Saturday night from two weeks’ training in Florida. It’ll train in Blaine Wednesday and Thursday before leaving for Portland and nine days there for a four-team tournament featuring MLS teams New England, Vancouver and the host Timbers.
United then returns to Portland for the March 1 season opener against the Timbers.