Emanuel Reynoso cleared for Minnesota United FC return

Reynoso up close

UPDATE (May 16): Minnesota United FC playmaker Emanuel Reynoso, more than three months after his preseason suspension, has been cleared to play and return to full team participation.

Reynoso has missed the Loons' first 11 games of the 2023 season, with Adrian Heath's team sitting ninth in the Western Conference table (3W-5L-3D record).

It's not immediately clear when Reynoso will feature, both in terms of fitness and team reintegration. But on the surface level, it's a significant step for Minnesota considering the Designated Player's importance to their offense.

ORIGINAL (May 6): All-Star midfielder Emanuel Reynoso has taken a key step towards returning to Minnesota United FC, as the club announced Saturday evening he’s back in Minnesota with an intention to rejoin the squad.

The Loons, in their pre-Matchday 11 release, deemed the Argentine No. 10 “unavailable for all team activities until further notice.”

In mid-February, Reynoso was announced as suspended without pay by Major League Soccer for failure to report to preseason training camp. That’s created a saga in the intervening four months – one head coach Adrian Heath has often addressed to media members and where the club’s worked behind the scenes to encourage Reynoso’s return.

Reynoso's impact

It is unclear when, or exactly if, Reynoso will feature for Minnesota in a game. But the 27-year-old, in pure on-field terms, is undoubtedly among MLS's premier playmakers. He has 18 goals and 35 assists in 76 combined regular-season and Audi MLS Cup Playoffs games since joining Minnesota midway through the 2020 campaign from Boca Juniors in his native Argentina.

Last September, the Designated Player signed a long-term contract extension that could keep him with the club through the 2026 season.

Life without Reynoso

So far, Minnesota sit seventh in the Western Conference table (3W-3L-3D) with 0.89 goals scored per game before visiting Vancouver Whitecaps FC late Saturday night (10:30 pm ET | MLS Season Pass). They started the 2023 season five games unbeaten, but are winless in four and shutout in two straight.

Without their left-footed midfield magician, the Loons have called upon Finland international Robin Lod, South Korean international Sang Bin Jeong and South African international Bongokuhle Hlongwane as creative forces. They all bring final-third qualities, but haven't replicated the pronounced impact and importance Reynoso has in Minnesota’s attack.