Skip to content Skip to sidebar Skip to footer

Minnesota United played on without star midfielder Emanuel Reynoso on Saturday at Real Salt Lake but introduced recently signed Adrien Hunou — not recently signed Franco Fragapane — to the starting 11.

Loons coach Adrian Heath called Fragapane game-ready for Saturday because he had been playing every fourth day for his Talleres team in Argentina until he boarded a plane bound for Minnesota last week. Meanwhile, Heath noted Hunou hadn’t played a 90-minute game in weeks.

Fragapane was ineligible Saturday because of lingering paperwork that remained on his transfer from Argentina to Minnesota and MLS.

Reynoso and veteran Ethan Finlay both didn’t play Saturday because of hurting knees.

So Hunou started up top with midfielders Robin Lod and Hassani Dotson underneath him while center back Bakaye Dibassy made his season debut by starting after he missed the season’s first six games injured.

Still a starterVeteran goalkeeper Tyler Miller started his third consecutive game Saturday after he recorded consecutive 1-0 clean sheets in victories over Vancouver and FC Dallas. The Loons began the season 0-4 in games Dayne St. Clair started in goal, but Heath has made it clear he doesn’t hold St. Clair responsible.

“In my mind I never stopped being a starter,” St. Clair said. “Just because I haven’t started the last two games, I still consider myself a starter. I plan on being back in net sometime this season.”

Go, CanadaCanada’s national team has recalled St. Clair after Saturday’s game for two World Cup qualifying games, starting next Saturday. Canada also plays CONCACAF Gold Cup group games in July.

RSL played without young starting goalkeeper David Ochoa, who has been called to the U.S. national team. He was fined for the skirmish he incited the last time these teams played in April after he booted the ball into the Allianz Field stands at game’s end.

The Loons’ Dotson and Chase Gasper were fined for their parts as well.

“They’ll remember, but I think he’s away, isn’t he?” Heath said when asked if his players remember that last time. “We won’t have to deal with that one. That’s the best way of answering that.”

OptionsWith Reynoso, Finlay and Fragapane all out, Heath still stuck with his preferred 4-3-2-1 formation. He spoke with Fragapane during the week about playing as an attacking center midfielder in a 4-3-3.

“There is a lot of flexibility with him and with the rest of the group,” Heath said. “You look at Adrien Hunou, you look at Robin Lod, they’ve played in really all the top four attacking positions. That gives us lots of options. All things being equal, 4-3-2-1 still is very difficult to play against.”

Etc.• Finland’s Lod and Jukka Raitala and Slovakia’s Jan Gregus are scheduled to leave Sunday to play for their national teams in next month’s UEFA European championships.