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Loons’ Emanuel Reynoso receiving MLS MVP consideration

Minnesota United is 6-2-0 this season when he has a goal or assist, including four wins amid their current six-game unbeaten streak.

MLS: USA Tour-Everton at Minnesota United
Minnesota United midfielder Emanuel Reynoso heads to take a corner kick against Everton on July 20 at Allianz Field in St. Paul.
Matt Blewett / USA Today Sports
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ST. PAUL -- The Emanuel Reynoso hype train is gaining passengers.

Minnesota United’s midfield maestro has been receiving more consideration for the MLS’ Landon Donovan MVP award in recent weeks, and one stat continues to show his immense value to the Loons.

When the Argentine central attacking midfielder contributes at least one goal or assist in a game since he joined the club mid-2020, MNUFC is 21-5-3. They are 6-2-0 this season when he has a goal or assist, including four wins amid their current six-game unbeaten streak.

When Reynoso doesn’t get on the scoresheet or doesn’t play, Minnesota is 10-20-16, including a middling 4-6-4 this season.

The two-time MLS All-Star injured his ankle in the international friendly against Everton on July 20 and missed last Saturday’s game in Houston. Without him, the Loons were able to pull off a rarer victory, 2-1 in Texas.

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“Special players do make a difference, nobody can deny that,” United FC manager Adrian Heath said. “But you need the ensemble, the backup to go with it. No team is a one-man team. … Last week was a big moment for us because that’s always been the narrative — that we can’t win without Rey playing well. We proved last week we can.”

Reynoso is available to play when third-place MNUFC (10-8-4) faces Portland Timbers (7-6-9) at 2 p.m. Saturday at Allianz Field. He will look to build on his 14 goal contributions (nine scored, five assisted) across 21 games.

Nine MLSsoccer.com staff members voted this week for five MVP candidates, and based on a points system, Reynoso came in fifth. The rest of the top five: 4. Luciano Acosta (FC Cincinnati); 3. Hany Mukhtar (Nashville SC); 2. Jesus Ferreira (FC Dallas); 1. Sebastian Driussi (Austin FC).

Reynoso leads MLS with 56 passes breaking the defensive line, per Pro Football Focus FC; that is 10 more than Orlando City’s Mauricio Pereyra.

Lod’s new deal

Robin Lod has signed a new three-year contact with MNUFC, the club said Friday. The 29-year-old Finnish international is locked up through the 2025 season, with a club option for 2026.

Lod’s 22 regular-season MLS career goals stands as a club record, including six in 2022.

MLS: USA Tour-Everton at Minnesota United
Minnesota United midfielder Robin Lod shoots as Everton midfielder Abdoulaye Doucoure defends July 20 in St. Paul.
Matt Blewett / USA Today Sports

One rumor last week had Toulouse FC, of France’s Ligue 2, interested in Lod, with a projected offer of $2 million. On Friday, Heath called that report “ridiculous.” Lod said weeks ago he was “hopeful” a new deal could be arranged.

Garcia on the way

Loons targeted signing Mender Garcia, a 23-year-old attacker, has received his immigration appointment in Colombia and his arrival in Minnesota appears imminent.

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“We had some good news (Friday) morning,” Heath said. “… It could be three days. It could be a week. But we’re hoping, middle of (next) week, with a bit of luck, he’ll be here.”

Bags between them

Minnesota United’s 4-0 win over English Premier League side Everton on July 20 was even more impressive given the salary budgets of each club.

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With Minnesota’s playoff positioning slipping in three straight scoreless losses, a goal and a point will be precious. But they lost points from a winning position at home.
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After a slow start, the Loons ascended to be one of the league’s best through late August, netting 26 out of the next 33 points during that stretch.
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Reynoso, who has a team-high 10 goals, tweaked his right ankle before halftime of last Saturday’s 3-0 loss to FC Dallas.
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After signing a 2½-year contract with MNUFC through the 2024 season, with a club option for 2025, the 28-year-old Paraguayan has played in three games — an international friendly versus Everton, plus coming off the bench in two MLS games, wins over Houston and Portland.
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The Loons’ payroll for 2022 was listed at $13.2 million, per MLS Players’ Association figures in May. While estimates vary, Everton’s total is probably more than five times that.

“I wouldn’t like to guess, but it’s an incredible wage bill,” Heath said. “… It was a really good night for us all. The one thing I wanted to showcase is we have got some good players (in Minnesota.)”

Two more years?

After Everton, Heath was quoted by the Daily Mail in England saying, “I think after this contract (through the 2024 season), I’ll look to go upstairs, maybe as a sporting director.”

Heath, who currently has a leadership role in MNUFC’s front office, clarified that statement Friday. “Ultimately when I finish coaching, that won’t be the end,” he said. “I want to stay involved and help in any way I can to keep developing the club. Whether that is in two years or in five years, 18 months, I don’t know. But at this moment in time, I have no other thoughts than just continuing to coach.”

Briefly

MNUFC2 will add Minneapolis City striker Loic Mesanvi, a source told Pioneer Press on Friday. Mesanvi, 19, scored for City in the U.S. Open Cup match vs. Des Moines Menace, which piqued interest from other clubs. The Togo native scored 24 goals for Lakeville South High School in 2021. … MNUFC2 player Carlos Leatherman, 17, will represent the club at the MLS NEXT All-Star Game at the National Sports Center in Blaine on Aug. 10. Representatives needed to be under age 18, which kept MNUFC2 standouts Aziel Jackson and Nabi Kibunguchy from being selected. … MNUFC was “active” in trade talks for forward Miguel Berry, per MLSsoccer.com, but the 24-year-old was shipped from Columbus to D.C. United for $325,000 in allocation money. … Forward Patrick Weah (knee) has begun to do ball work individually and will start to integrate with MNUFC2 over the next few weeks. … Fred Emmings has been progressing in his recovery from a concussion suffered June 30.

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This story was written by one of our partner news agencies. Forum Communications Company uses content from agencies such as Reuters, Kaiser Health News, Tribune News Service and others to provide a wider range of news to our readers. Learn more about the news services FCC uses here.

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