ST. PAUL -- Minnesota United is no longer trying to acquire Argentine goalkeeper Agustin Rossi, a source told to the St. Paul Pioneer Press on Tuesday, Jan. 22.
The Loons had targeted Rossi to fill a position of need this offseason but that pursuit has been called off amid resurfaced news reports connecting Rossi to allegations of domestic abuse from a former partner in 2016.
United’s Sporting Director Manny Lagos wouldn’t comment on Rossi specifically, citing a club policy, but alluded to the situation in a session with reporters during the Loons’ first open preseason training Tuesday in Blaine.
“We don’t comment on players that are unsigned and/or under contract with other teams,” Lagos said. “I certainly think in this situation I would add, though, there is no doubt that any time we’re trying to to bring in and recruit a player that both MLS and Minnesota United ensure that the values of the club and the league are met. We will always work to ensure that’s the case.”
United coach Adrian Heath cited the same policy, adding, “I saw a lot of speculation in terms of with a ‘keeper, but as far as I was concerned, it never got to the stage where I knew anything other than, ‘let’s wait and see.’”
The Wonderwall, the umbrella organization of United supporters groups, urged the club last week to not pursue Rossi after the allegations resurfaced.
“We urge MNUFC to reconsider this potential transfer as this behavior is unacceptable and is not welcome in our community,” according to part of the group’s statement.
Rossi, 23, has been the No. 1 goalkeeper at Boca Juniors, a Buenos Aires club in Argentina’s top league. He played in the first leg of the Copa Librertadores final, the premier tournament in South America, against arch-rival River.
Rossi was connected to the Loons on an 18-month loan, with an option to buy, per reports from Argentina. Moving on from Rossi, the Loons will continue to pursue another goalkeeper for a season that starts March 2 against the Vancouver Whitecaps.
The Loons’ roster currently holds 2018 starter Bobby Shuttleworth and 2019 SuperDraft pick Dayne St. Clair. Their 2018 backup, Matt Lampson, and little-used third stringer Alex Kapp left the club in the offseason.
Midfielder Kevin Molino continues to rehab from a torn anterior cruciate ligament and damage to both menisci in his left knee but has since had a “minor” issue with the right knee.
“Nothing too complicated, but it’s probably set him back a couple of weeks, so he’ll be joining us in Arizona (next week),” Heath said.
Molino tore the ACL in his right knee with Orlando City in May 2015; the subsequent injury to his left knee occurred in the 2018 season’s second game at Orlando.
Meanwhile, midfielder Ethan Finlay, who tore the ACL in his right knee last April, has been progressing.
“It’s a problem,” Heath said. “He wants to do more than the medical team wants him to do, but he’s going to be fine. We think by the time we finish in Arizona or before we go to Orlando (in mid-February) that he’ll be progressing to joining in more than he is at the moment.”
New addition Romain Metanire, a 28-year-old French right back, has yet to join the Loons. His deal is going through the approval process.
Center back Brent Kallman is recovering from an appendectomy and participated in training Tuesday.
United has a few players training with the club this week, including goalkeeper Brian Sylvestre and forward Paulo Junior. Both players have signed with Forward Madison (Wis.), a USL club that will be the Loons’ minor-league affiliate in 2019.