Loons lose key midfielder Robin Lod to torn meniscus

The Finnish international has played multiple position for the MNUFC

Minnesota United FC midfielder Robin Lod (left) challenges Vancouver Whitecaps FC midfielder Ryan Gauld on May 6, 2023, in Vancouver.
Minnesota United FC midfielder Robin Lod (left) challenges Vancouver Whitecaps FC midfielder Ryan Gauld on May 6, 2023, in Vancouver.
Anne-Marie Sorvin / USA Today Sports

The Loons’ Finnish Army Knife won’t be able to show off his instruments for the foreseeable future.

Vital Minnesota United midfielder Robin Lod suffered a torn meniscus in his right knee during Wednesday’s 1-0 victory over the Houston Dynamo, and the 30-year-old Finland national team player is scheduled to have surgery Monday, the club said.

Lod has been integral to the Loons this season in his inverted winger spot and in central midfield, meaning his absence will start to sting Saturday night when the Loons (4-5-3, 15 points) play the Portland Timbers (4-5-4, 16 points) at Providence Park in Portland.

Lod suffered the injury in the first half Wednesday but played all 90 minutes against the Dynamo and felt “pretty good” after the match, Heath said. Pain arrived Thursday morning.

Manager Adrian Heath said the club’s orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Aimee Klapach, will understand the severity of the injury and how long his rehabilitation process will be once the operation is conducted Monday. The question is: “Whether we are talking weeks or months,” Heath said.


Injuries to one of the two menisci in a knee can be trimmed or removed for a shorter return timeline versus a longer rehab with a full reparative operation. Full recovery from meniscus surgery can range from six weeks to three months, according to the Cleveland Clinic. Lod signed a new three-year contract in July and his long-term health will certainly be a consideration in the route taken.

“MNUFC sends its strength and support to Robin and wishes him a speedy recovery,” the club said Friday.

The loss of Lod — who has played nearly 900 minutes across 10 matches this season — comes as MNUFC plays a condensed schedule and was preparing for the return of star Emanuel Reynoso.

“We are arguably without two of our best players at this moment in time, which doesn’t help,” Heath said Friday. “But it is what it is. We got to get on with it. We can’t use excuses.”

The Loons will have more cover in the midfield with captain Wil Trapp, Hassani Dotson and Kervin Arriaga, but the first team is thinner on the wing. Franco Fragapane and Bongi Hlongwane are the clear-cut top options in wide areas. Joseph Rosales has played more in wide areas in recent games, on top of his traditional central midfield contribution, with Heath also mentioning Sang Bin Jeong as a possible option on the wing. Cam Dunbar is another depth option.

Meanwhile, Reynoso issued a video statement via the club Friday; It was the first time the central playmaking midfielder spoke since he ended his holdout in Argentina and returned to Minnesota on May 6.

“I’m very happy to be back here in Minnesota,” Reynoso said via a Spanish translation. “The truth is that due to family problems I could not come. The truth is that I went through a very difficult time in my life and personally too. I apologize to my teammates, I apologized to all the coaching staff, to all the people who work in the club. The truth is that what I did was not right, I know that.”

MLS lifted Reynoso’s suspension Tuesday and he is expected to return to training with the first team Wednesday or Thursday. When he can return to MLS games will come into better focus next week once he has completed full fitness tests, including the “beep” test. Heath said it might start with a 10- to 15-minute debut.


Reynoso thanked the fans for their support and messages, and said he hopes to “return all the love.”

“I am preparing myself in the best way to be 100% and be available to the coach,” Reynoso continued. “I think it’s step by step. Take it easy and then the day comes I will be ready to give my best.”


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