Minnesota United’s glaring roster needs at striker and left winger are dissipated from manager Adrian Heath’s perspective because he believes the talent pool is currently deeper given that the primary transfer window is open until June 1.
“We never normally have this long and being open until June the first gives us that opportunity to look at a lot more players and certainly a lot more league’s players will be available,” he said Thursday.
Heath said the Loons are “actively pursuing both positions,” and the club wants to get deals done sooner rather than later. He put a marker down of having something sorted by the middle of their preseason trip to Florida, with exhibitions from March 27 to April 9.
“If the right guy is not available to us, we will wait and we will go with what we got,” Heath said. “I’m pleased with what we’ve got and would I like to add a couple more? For sure.”
One depth addition at striker is Juan Agudelo, a 28-year-old with 49 goals in 229 regular-season MLS games since 2010. “Juan’s come in and looks really hungry,” Heath said.
Loons attacking midfielder Thomas Chacon is not at the National Sports Center in Blaine participating in preseason training, but rather in his native Uruguay as the club works on a one-year loan deal in the Primera Division.
It wouldn’t be with his previous club Danubio, Heath said.
“We feel as though going back to Uruguay, playing in the first division there … will get his confidence back and get him back in the groove,” Heath said of the 20-year-old high-priced signing under contract through at least 2023.
Ike Opara has not been participating in preseason training with the first team since their work began March 1, but he has been in Blaine.
The Loons and Opara have dealt with the 31-year-old center back’s undisclosed health issues for nearly a year now, and Heath reiterated a desire to get to a resolution.
“We have to make a decision sooner on where we are going with the situation,” he said.
New holding midfielder Wil Trapp has impressed Heath with his technical abilities.
“Tidier, and I mean this in the best possible way, cleaner with the ball than I even thought he was,” Heath said. “I’ve always thought he was a great player and a continuity player who got the game and ticked the game over, but the one thing that has been very evident in the short period we’ve been together is how clean his is, a beautiful passer of the ball. He has been everything that we thought he would be.”
Why Dotson is in, St. Clair is out
Loons midfielder Hassani Dotson was named Thursday to the U.S. Under-23 roster for Olympic Qualifying tournament in Mexico later this month. Coach Jason Kreis mentioned Dotson’s ability to play midfield and fullback as a reason why he’s among the 20 players.
While new Loons midfielder Callum Montgomery made Canada’s roster, goalkeeper Dayne St. Clair’s omission as a teammate is believed to be tied to his expected inclusion in Canada’s roster for the men’s senior national team and its World Cup qualifying effort, which is also in March.
“I think the only reason why he wouldn’t be involved in the Under-23s would the fact that he would be going with the national team,” Heath said. “We got a really favorable report back from (Canadian team officials) after the last get together and they were really pleased with him, so everything is trending in the right direction. We all would be incredibly surprised and disappointed if he didn’t make it.”
If the Americans qualify for the Summer Games for the first time since 2008, Dotson will go to Tokyo in July and August with United’s blessing. The same would be true for Montgomery.
United released midfielder/fullback Sam Gleadle on Thursday, leaving only forward Foster Langsdorf among the three players brought in last season from the USL club Reno 1868. The Loons parted ways with Kevin Partida last year.