Minnesota United returned to training Monday with starters Ozzie Alonso and Angelo Rodriguez feeling better but unlikely to play Thursday at Sporting KC.
Alonso missed the game Saturday against Orlando because of a thigh strain and Rodriguez came up injured and clutching his hamstring in the 27th minute. Neither trained with the team Monday, but Alonso worked with training staff inside at the National Sports Center in Blaine.
United coach Adrian Heath said both are aimed to play in the U.S. Open Cup final at Atlanta United on Aug. 27.
“Ozzie is a lot better. Angelo is not as bad as first feared,” Heath said. “It probably would be too much of a risk for Thursday.”
Striker Abu Danladi replaced Rodriguez in the first half Saturday and scored the tying goal in second-half stoppage time that salvaged a 1-1 draw in a game United dominated.
Striker Mason Toye served the second game of a two-game suspension Saturday for spitting on a FC Dallas player on Aug. 10.
“A week ago, we had everybody fit,” Heath said. “Then Angelo comes off and you’re thinking if Abu was to get injured, you got one striker [healthy] going into a really important part of the season. But it wasn’t as bad as feared with Angelo.”
Torn turf still a sore spot
Players tore up chunks of Allianz Field grass Saturday with their plastic spikes, highlighting again an issue with the field encountered early in the season.
Heath said there is “something wrong with it underneath” with turf that was grown in Colorado, trucked to Minnesota and planted in October. He said the team and the field groundskeepers are working to rectify it.
“There were a few issues with it,” Heath said. “We’re trying what we can. We can’t change it now. We’re going to have to work through it. I know the groundsman is working really, really hard trying to do everything he can to firm it up a little bit. At this moment in time, it’s not ideal.”
United doesn’t play at again at home until Sept. 7 — a friendly against CF Pachuca — but the U.S. women’s national team plays Portugal as part of its World Cup “Victory Tour” on Sept. 3.
A word in Spanish
The Loons’ young designated player, Thomas Chacon, stepped onto the team’s training field Monday for the first time.
Rookie defender Chase Gasper was first to greet him, carrying on a conversation with his limited Spanish before Darwin Quintero and others came by to converse. Chacon doesn’t speak English.
He underwent a physical examination and completed paperwork needed with his new employment. Chacon will train with his new teammates for the first time Tuesday.
“My Spanish is good enough, but we have enough Spanish speakers with the players we’ve got and a couple of our staff, don’t we?” Heath said. “It’s not going to be an issue. The most important thing for him, and we’ve spoken about that, is learning English. He’s going to have to make a concerted effort on that.”