With only one fully fit center forward, Minnesota United FC head coach Adrian Heath said they might need to add another No. 9 during the Secondary Transfer Window, which runs through Oct. 29.
Luis Amarilla and Aaron Schoenfeld, the Loons’ two natural options outside of Mason Toye, are both out injured. Even in Minnesota's 1-0 loss Sunday evening at Sporting Kansas City, newly-acquired attacking midfielder Emanuel “Bebelo” Reynoso played some center forward when subbing on in the second half and after Toye's 67-minute runout.
“It’s something that we've spoke about, it's something that we might have to look [at],” Heath said about potentially adding another No. 9. “Do we bring somebody else in, because we can't go until the end of the season with the thought of maybe one guy being fit at any given time.
“We can't go on if Luis doesn't get fit in the next few weeks and Aaron breaks down, so it's something that we've looked at, something that we are looking at and if we can do something maybe we'd have a look at it.”
Highlights: Sporting Kansas City 1, Minnesota United FC 0
Minnesota signed Amarilla on loan from Velez Sarsfield this past January, and the Paraguayan scored twice in seven matches while dealing with injuries. Schoenfield, returning to MLS from Israel this past offseason, is yet to score for Minnesota upon joining from Maccabi Tel Aviv.
Toye, a US youth international, has one goal after a hot-and-cold 2019 campaign and the likes of Reynoso, Robin Lod and Kevin Molino – three attack-minded midfielders – all started on the bench versus SKC due to rotation. Heath said they have to “protect” key players during a condensed season, and notably finished Sunday's match without a shot on target.
“If you look around the league, I think it was [Real] Salt Lake made eight or nine changes the other day, and we can't just keep playing the same group every four days until the end of the season – it's impossible,” Heath said after a game that saw Sporting assume first place in the Western Conference standings. “This week will be good. Hopefully we can get some little bit of recuperation, the guys can get a little bit healthier and another away game. It won't get any easier next week.”
Minnesota return to action next Saturday at the Houston Dynamo (8 pm ET | MLS LIVE on ESPN+ in US, DAZN in Canada), and Heath said there’s a possibility that Schoenfeld returns. They’ll also get right back Romain Metanire back after his red-card suspension, though lynchpins like defensive midfielder Osvaldo Alonso and center back Ike Opara remain sidelined.
There’s also the matter of midfielder Thomas Chacon, who’s linked with a loan move back to Uruguayan club Danubio. Originally signed to a Young Designated Player deal in August 2019, the 20-year-old has appeared in just four MLS matches (one start). Addressing the Chacon reports, Heath didn’t have a concrete answer available.
“I'll have a better idea tonight when I get back,” Heath said. “Obviously [technical director] Mark Watson's been dealing with some of the stuff, what we've been trying to do over the last few days. I'll get a clearer picture of that later this evening."