Luis Amarilla - Minnesota United - arms wide open

Minnesota United FC’s search for a go-to striker during the 2021 MLS season continues, with Ecuadorian first-division side LDU Quito announcing Thursday that they'd signed Luis Amarilla on a one-year loan with a purchase option.

Amarilla returns to Ecuador after spending the 2020 season on loan at Minnesota, arriving after leading the country’s Serie A in scoring with 19 goals in 24 games for Universidad Catolica. That represented another loan for the 25-year-old Paraguayan striker, whose parent club remains Argentine side Velez Sarsfield.

Amarilla entered MLS in 2020 with the bold proclamation of scoring 25 goals, though never delivered as injuries took their toll. He had 2g/1a in seven games (five starts), then had season-ending ankle surgery in November. 

With Amarilla’s contributions limited, the Loons still advanced to the Western Conference Final and qualified for the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs for the second straight year. They turned to Robin Lod in a false No. 9 role before falling to the Seattle Sounders, with the Finland international normally playing out wide.

As Amarilla heads to LDU Quito, Minnesota count Foster Langsdorf as the sole forward on their 2021 MLS roster. It’s an area of need and largely why they tried to get Amarilla to stay in the Twin Cities.