Loons star Emanuel Reynoso’s return to MLS games ‘might be a few weeks’
The Argentine playmaker must clear hurdles before taking field for MNUFC
The biggest step has been achieved: Loons star midfielder Emanuel Reynoso returned to Minnesota on Saturday.
But tedious steps remain: Reynoso passing medical tests; MLS sharing what Reynoso must do to have his suspension lifted; Reynoso returning to training sessions, mending relationships with teammates, improving his fitness and form.
Then, finally, playing in games.
“I’m delighted he is here,” manager Adrian Heath said Monday in Blaine. “I want to get him into the group and get him integrated back into the group because as I’ve said all along there is not a team in this league who is not better without having a really good Emanuel Reynoso. We are the same.”
The Loons (3-4-3, 12 points) are winless in five straight matches over the previous month. Without their MLS All-Star playmaking midfielder, they have scored only 10 goals in 10 game this season.
“We need him in the team,” Heath continued. “We’ve spent an awful lot of money bringing him here. We’ve done an awful lot to try to put pieces around (him), making him the best version of himself. It might be a few weeks before we can do that. But the fact that he is here, we can get started now.”
Reynoso was undergoing medical tests Monday morning, while the Loons were preparing to play Philadelphia Union in a U.S. Open Cup round of 32 match at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at Allianz Field.
Heath said MNUFC and MLS would meet Monday to discuss Reynoso’s status. He will have to meet with the league’s legal team and its substance and behavior health department.
“We will have more of an idea (and maybe can share that) after the game (Tuesday), what the next two or three days and weeks look like for Rey,” Heath said.
The Loons returned from Saturday’s 3-2 loss at Vancouver late Sunday night, meaning Heath had not yet spoken with Reynoso outside of a text message welcoming him back and a photo shared of Reynoso on an airplane from South America.
Reynoso has been dealing with family issues in Argentina and didn’t report to training camp in early January. He was suspended without pay by MLS in mid-February and already has missed 30 percent of the MLS season.
Heath was asked if Reynoso must mend relationships with teammates who might feel left in the lurch. “We’ll see,” he said.
Dayne St. Clair and DJ Taylor have both commented that they are focused on the teammates who have been here since the season began, an indication Reynoso might need to make amends.
Heath said he knew Reynoso’s return was in the works Friday; news broke only hours before the Vancouver match.
“Guys have been talking about it for a while,” new goalkeeper Clint Irwin said. “It’s impossible to ignore, but we have a job to do. You deal with it as it comes. It’s not anything we are unprepared for. I think you always know the potential that he could come back, so it will be good to have him back.”
Kervin Arriaga (hamstring) and Sang Bin Jeong (leg cramps) both participated in Monday’s session and will be available to play against the Union. … Luis Amarilla (groin) did not practice and won’t play against Philadelphia. Heath described the injury as “slight,” with a better prognosis expected by the end of the week. … MNUFC’s loaned-out forward Tani Oluwaseyi scored the winning goal in San Antonio’s 2-1 victory over Las Vegas in USL Championship on Sunday. … After helping MNUFC beat Detroit City in the third round of the U.S. Open Cup on April 9, Irwin will again start in net Tuesday. … MNUFC2 tied Chicago Fire II 3-3 and then earned an extra point with a 3-2 penalty-kick shootout victory in the developmental team’s home opener in Blaine on Sunday. St. Paul goalkeeper Fred Emmings was clutch, making two saves during PKs.
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