To some degree, a different-look Minnesota United FC will open their 2022 MLS campaign on Feb. 26 at the Philadelphia Union.

How different depends on what transfer business the Loons can complete between now and then, a reality manager Adrian Heath conceded as training camp opens.

“We’ve got a little bit of work to do,” Heath said. “We know we’ve lost some good players and we’ve lost some experienced players … and we’ve got to replace that. But we’re active on two or three fronts at this moment in time, and if we can get the players we’ve identified and the players that we’re down the road with on one or two, then we’ll be pleased with the offseason.”

MNUFC's biggest additions so far are South African forward Bongokuhle Hlongwane via the league's U22 Initiative and the return of former No. 1 SuperDraft pick Abu Danladi via free agency. They also brought back center back Brent Kallman.

The most obvious remaining need comes in central midfield, where the Loons saw both MLS veteran Ozzie Alonso (free agency, Atlanta) and Slovakian international Jan Gregus (Re-Entry Draft, San Jose) move on. Veteran winger Ethan Finlay (free agency, Austin) also departed.

This comes after Minnesota fell in Round One of the Audi 2021 MLS Cup Playoffs to eventual final hosts Portland Timbers, an inability to capitalize on the momentum of a promising 2020 run to the Western Conference Final.

Now, there's more clarity about the path forward.

“Anytime you do well in the playoff the year prior, there’s kind of this weird vibe of like, well, ‘Do we keep doing what we’re doing or do we do something new?’” midfielder Wil Trapp said. “And now we know we need to do something different, we know we need to change, and I think that gives guys energy.”

In preseason's early days, Minnesota are without a handful of players due to health and safety protocols, including attacking midfielder Emanuel Reynoso and striker Adrien Hunou, last year's two Designated Players.

The Loons leave for their first preseason trip to Florida next week and return in early February, by which time the picture should be more complete.

“We’ve got probably four or five away with the COVID who should be back with us by the time we get to Florida, a couple of guys away on international duty. So we’re still very light,” Heath said. “But by the time we hit Florida, we should have nearly everybody back in market.”