Here we go, catching up Wednesday with Minnesota United coach Adrian Heath on a number of topics after his team’s 3-2 victory over USL Championship league Charleston Battery in a preseason friendly in Melbourne, Fla.
Waiting for Reynoso
Heath said the pursuit of Boca Juniors attacking midfielder Emanuel Reynoso is “ongoing.” He took encouragement from Reynoso being been held out of games the last two weeks even while Buenos Aires' great club said it’s short on bodies because of injuries.
“They’re obviously planning for the fact that he might be leaving, which is a good sign for us. But they’re a little light on players, as they explained to us. We did have a date in mind, which is coming up now, so hopefully we can get a little bit of something and a little more information in the next 48 hours, I would hope.”
Heath said United technical director Mark Watson, now back after spending time in Buenos Aires, remains in “close and continual dialogue” with Reynoso’s team.
“We’re hoping for our sake sooner rather than later,” Heath said. “Because of the quality of player, if we have to be a little patient, then so be it.”
Newly signed Paraguayan striker Luis Amarilla’s passport came through a day or two sooner than expected, so he’ll join his new team in Florida on Wednesday night after he finishes physical examinations and testing in Orlando. He was originally set to join the Loons this weekend in Minnesota after United returns home from two weeks training on grass in the Florida sun. He could play some in the final friendly in Florida Saturday.
“Hopefully everything comes through and he can be here tonight,'' Heath said Wednesday, "with the group tomorrow and do a little on Friday. Maybe even him a little bit of time Saturday to see how he is.”
'A bit legged'
Defender Hassani Dotson and midfielders Thomas Chacon and Robin Lod scored United’s three goals Wednesday. Said Heath, “We looked like what we are: A team that is two weeks into preseason, the best part of 20-odd sessions we’ve started. We looked a bit legged today. We got ourselves into good situations and our quality wasn’t as good as I would have liked. But I couldn’t fault the guys for their efforts. They worked really hard. There was some really good play and we came through unscathed, which is the most important thing.”
Heath played a different 11 in each half and welcomed back Chase Gasper for game action after he trained and played with the U.S. men’s national team in January and February’s first days.
The first half: GK Tyler Miller; D Dotson, Gasper, Michael Boxall, Romain Metanire; MF Jan Gregus, Ozzie Alonso, Lod, Kevin Molino, Ethan Finlay; F Mason Toye.
Second half: GK Gregory Ranjitsingh; D Wyatt Omsberg, Noah Billingsley and two trialists; MF James Musa, Jacori Hayes, Andrew Booth, Chacon, Marlon Hairston; F Matthew Bentley.
“I thought in the middle of the field was very, very good today,” Heath said. “At times our final ball let us down in the final third (of the field). Obviously, we know that’s an important part of the field. That’s an area we’ll continue to work on.”
Sideline reporter Watson headed to Nashville
United television coverage on FSN will have a different look this season: Former United and Minnesota Stars midfielder Jamie Watson is moving on from his job as the team's prepared, affable sideline reporter to move into the booth with MLS' expansion Nashville team.
Play-by-play man Callum Williams and analyst Kyndra St. Aubin remain in the Loons' broadcast booth this coming season.
New kits coming
MLS is unveiling new team kits Wednesday night in New York City as part of New York Fashion Week, of course. The show starts at 7 p.m, on mlssoccer.com and Loons supporters will see a little something old (a long-awaited nod to the team's NASL days) and a little something new in the United's new kit.
Beyond their age
In its attempt to get younger and more athletic, United went out over the winter and acquired two veteran MLS midfielders who still are in their mid-20s.
Heath on getting Marlon Hairston from Houston in the Darwin Quintero trade and Jacori Hayes in a deal with Dallas.
“They’ve been great additions,” Heath said. “They’re raised the level of the overall group. It’s another two players who if we need to shove them in at any time, I would do so without any hesitation. They’ve come in and proved what they are. They’ve been consistent performers in this league. We’re really pleased with the two kids. It has taken them no time to settle in. Both of them have gotten a really good personality within the group. And their performances and training habits have been outstanding. We feel as though it’s another couple players that give the squad a little bit more depth.”