Minnesota United's Adrian Heath poised to resume improving roster
MLS

Minnesota United's Adrian Heath poised to resume improving roster

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MLS United Sounders Soccer

Minnesota United head coach Adrian Heath reacts on the sideline during the second half of an Oct. 6 match against the Seattle Sounders in Seattle.

Minnesota United coach Adrian Heath is back on his team’s training fields after he spent two months sequestered at home where he scouted video “coming out my ears” of potentially available players from around the world.

He and his staff did so to be ready to improve his roster when teams in MLS and those worldwide reopen operations during the coronavirus pandemic.

“The most important thing is to be ready when we come out the other side of this,” Heath said. “We’ve got a little bit of room to work with: We’ve got places on the roster and a DP (designated player) spot. We’ve got money available. It’s a case where can we cover all bases so when we come out the other side, we’re in a really healthy position.”

The league’s primary winter transfer window ended May 5. The secondary summer window is set to begin July 7, a date likely dependent on when leagues worldwide resume their seasons.

“We need to find out what happens to the transfer windows,” he said. “Do the dates change because of this situation?”

The worldwide player transfer window shut down when leagues around the globe suspended their seasons in March. When those markets reopen, Heath vows the Loons will be ready after he scouted so many players he “probably couldn’t have looked at any more,” he said.

Minnesota United signed Paraguayan striker Luis Amarilla and traded for starting goalkeeper Tyler Miller during that early transfer window when it added 11 players. The Loons also aggressively pursued Argentinian attacking midfielder Emanuel Reynoso without reaching a deal before MLS suspended its season March 12.

Two more subs?

Whenever MLS and Minnesota United return to play, they’ll probably do so by allowing five substitutes in a game rather than the current three, whether in an Orlando-based World Cup-style tournament, a shortened regular season or both.

“I’ve always been an advocate that if you have five people on the bench, you should be able to put five people on,” Heath said. “Me personally, I think it’s a good idea. We have to be careful starting and stopping the game with substitutes as a tactical reason. But in terms of allowing more players to be put on the field, certainly it’s a good idea if we’re down in Florida in July.”

Safe at home

Players have been taking part in voluntary workouts on Monday, Wednesday and Friday in Blaine, with players split between morning and afternoon sessions.

Heath said a couple of Loons players he didn’t identify remained training at home when teammates reported for the first session last week. He said the team will clarify with the league if small-group training — the next step toward playing games — will be compulsory.

Veteran midfielder Ethan Finlay said he didn’t think twice about his safety when returning for individual workouts, with players physically distanced from others on the field.

“Personally, I didn’t, but I don’t fault any player in this league who does,” Finlay said Thursday. “That’s something this club, this league has been adamant about. If guys do not feel safe coming into train, they are not obligated at this point to do so.”

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