With season approaching, status and whereabouts of Loons star Emanuel Reynoso remain unknown
Reynoso has been mentioned in transfer rumors to European clubs; and the 26-year-old faces the prospect of a trial for an alleged assault in Argentina in December 2021.
BLAINE, Minn. -- A lack of answers on the absence of Minnesota United star midfielder Emanuel Reynoso extends into the Loons’ dressing room.
“I guess it’s the unknown part,” veteran midfielder Robin Lod said. “… That is what’s in people’s heads, but people are just trying to focus themselves and getting themselves on the good fitness level and working with the guys that are here. Just try to forget it and see what happens in the future.”
Reynoso has been away from Loons training camp for more than a month. The reason is believed to be personal issues in Argentina — not professional, nor legal. Reynoso has been mentioned in transfer rumors to European clubs; and the 26-year-old faces the prospect of a trial for an alleged assault in Argentina in December 2021.
Manager Adrian Heath repeatedly has said since training camp opened the week of Jan. 9 that the club was “hopeful” Reynoso would join in a matter of days. That stretched to weeks, then a month, with Heath saying Tuesday there was no timeline.
“We’re hoping like everything — I don’t really want to talk too much about it — he’s got one or two of his issues and hopefully we can work through them and be back whenever we can,” Heath said Tuesday.
The Loons’ season opener is fast approaching, only 18 days away at FC Dallas on Feb. 25. Even if Reynoso were to arrive Wednesday — which might happen — he would be in doubt to play in that rematch of the 2022 MLS Cup Playoffs first-round match.
Meanwhile, the rest of the Loons squad, now including late arrival Kemar Lawrence, are putting in heavy workloads, including multiple session practice days and another fitness test Tuesday. Heath was asked if that presents a schism within his team.
“Everybody is fully aware that when people have personal problems — we’ve all been there,” Heath said.
The Loons have been frustrated with Reynoso’s truancy, and sometimes lack of communication, and will explore next steps if their MLS All-Star doesn’t arrive soon in the U.S.
New left-sided center back Miguel Tapias arrived in Minnesota on Monday, fulfilling medical tests and going through the club’s media production stages.
Come Tuesday, the left-sided center back was slotted next to incumbent starter Michael Boxall, a possible preview of the center back pairing for the season opener in Texas.
Loons technical director Mark Watson traveled to Mexico last week to visit with Tapias’ previous club, Pachuca, to secure a situation for Tapias to arrive now rather than the end of the Liga MX season in April, when Tapias’ contract expires.
Tapias is in the U.S. on a tourist visa and would need to go back to Mexico to obtain his full immigration paperwork to be able to play in the Coachella Valley Invitational in Indio, Calif. His addition is expected to be announced Wednesday.
The Loons play New York Red Bulls on Saturday, followed by San Jose on Feb. 15 and Vancouver on Feb. 18. It would be helpful if Tapias could get acclimated to his new team, in particular defensive pieces, in an exhibition match over the next two weeks.
Luis Amarilla produced the best highlight of the Loons’ nine-on-nine scrimmage at the National Sports Center in Blaine on Tuesday.
Right back Alan Benitez sent a cross into the box, which Amarilla hit on the volley for a beautiful goal. The connection between the Paraguayan duo was the only goal scored in the 30-minute session.
Lawrence had a shot off the crossbar and two strong defensive efforts against Cameron Dunbar in the scrimmage. The Jamaican joined MNUFC in Florida last week and has to make up ground in his fitness.
Dayne St. Clair made a nice save on a shot from Devin Padelford, a 20-year-old Maplewood native seeing extended time with the first team this preseason.
Tapias, who is 5 foot 10, blocked a shot from Tani Oluwaseyi.
Right back D.J. Taylor missed Tuesday’s session with tendinitis, Heath said. … Mikael Marques, a 21-year-old center back from Sweden, has been progressing with his immigration paperwork and protocols; he should arrive in the U.S. soon, Heath said. … Without Reynoso, Lod has found himself playing in Reynoso’s central attacking midfield role, including in Tuesday’s scrimmage.
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