Mason Toye - Minnesota United - shoulder shrug

Amid a rash of injuries at forward, there’s greater emphasis on Mason Toye producing for Minnesota United FC.

To achieve that goal, head coach Adrian Heath has challenged the US youth international to discover greater consistency. The 21-year-old has one goal through seven matches this season, initially losing the starting role to offseason acquisition Luis Amarilla — who is now out injured.

“I think he has to be more regular,” Heath said. “You know, if you look at his games he’s been outstanding in some of the games and looked the player we hope he becomes,. And all the other times, you know, he’s not done the things, the simple things, well enough. And you know that's the one thing that we spoke to, you know, we work hard with him. 

“But the consistency of his play has got to be better than it is at this moment. It’s either very good or it's poor and we need it somewhere in between and more regular performance, shall we say.”

Arguably Toye’s greatest MLS moment came during a September 2019 victory at LAFC, when he bagged a brace in a 2-0 win against the eventual Supporters’ Shield winners. It ended a six-game unbeaten streak for LAFC, with Toye’s left-footed strikes both of the golazo variety, first from a tight angle and then from distance.

Goal: Mason Toye scores from range vs. LAFC

Heath doesn’t expect the Indiana University product to produce at that level every game, but it also provides a barometer of sorts.

“We realize he's not going to play like he did that game against LA, a year or so ago, or when he came on against Portland because that was outstanding,” Heath said. “But it has to be somewhere in between it can’t be two extremes. And that's what I'm looking for something that, is very, very consistent, and he gets hold of the ball better and he links the play better. They're the things that we feel as though he's not been so good at the last few weeks.”

Outside of Toye, the Loons are hoping that Amarilla and Aaron Schoenfeld are available again soon. Heath said Schoenfeld, signed this past offseason from Maccabi Tel Aviv, might be available for their Saturday evening match against the Houston Dynamo (8 pm ET | MLS LIVE on ESPN+ in US, DAZN in Canada).

They’re 2-4 since returning from the MLS is Back Tournament, and Heath again left open the possibility of Minnesota signing a striker. Toye’s carrying the line, and they also have summer signing Emanuel “Bebelo” Reynoso to inject some creativity alongside the likes of Kevin Molino and Robin Lod.

“We haven’t put it to bed and we haven't said, ‘No we’re happy with what we’ve got,’” Heath said. “We’ll keep looking out there and we’ll see because even if Aaron comes back at this moment in time we couldn’t go from now until the end of the season with just two strikers. So we will keep looking, And maybe it’s a short term, maybe it’s a loan, we don’t know, but we’ll keep looking.”