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Loons’ Emanuel Reynoso, Kemar Lawrence away for ‘personal matters’

In late December, reports in Argentina said Reynoso faces the possibility of a trial over an alleged assault of a teenager in Dec. 2021.

SPORTS-LOONS-EMANUEL-REYNOSO-KEMAR-LAWRENCE-1-SP.jpg
Minnesota United midfielder Emanuel Reynoso (10) works the ball between FC Cincinnati forward Isaac Atanga (23) and defender Geoff Cameron (20) in the second half May 7, 2022, at Allianz Field in St. Paul.
John Autey / St. Paul Pioneer Press
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ST. PAUL -- Minnesota United officials said twice last week that star midfielder Emanuel Reynoso would join the team toward the end of that opening week of preseason training in Blaine. It didn’t happen.

The Loons then traveled Sunday to near Orlando, Fla., for its second week of practices and their first preseason friendly against New York City FC on Wednesday. But Reynoso — the club’s 2022 MVP — has remained absent.

Before manager Adrian Heath’s media availability Thursday, the club issued a statement on Reynoso: “(He) is currently home in Argentina. At this time, we understand that he is dealing with personal matters. We will provide an update when we have more to share.”

In late December, reports in Argentina said Reynoso faces the possibility of a trial over an alleged assault of a teenager in Dec. 2021. He was detained for a week in January 2022, then traveled to Minnesota to play in 29 MLS games last season and represented MNUFC in the MLS All-Star Game at Allianz Field in August.

Before a potential trial, Reynoso’s lawyers have a window to file an appeal, a timeframe which is believed to remain open due to extended holidays in Argentina.

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Heath said last week that Reynoso was cleared by MLS to participate in MNUFC activities upon his arrival. On Thursday, Heath was asked by a reporter if Reynoso’s absence is tied to his legal issues, and a club spokesperson interjected to reference the statement, saying that is as far as they wished to go on the matter.

The club also said Thursday fullback Kemar Lawrence “is home in Jamaica attending to a personal matter.” Similar to Reynoso, Lawrence has not been with the team since preseason opened Jan. 9.

On Thursday, Heath was asked what the absence of two key veteran starters does to team chemistry.

“In an ideal world, we would love to have everybody back. . . and working with the rest of the group,” he said. “At this moment in time, for them two, they have issues they need to sort out and we’ll respect that. Hopefully they will get here sooner rather than later.

“If there is a plus point of this, it’s that we’ve got a longer preseason than usual, so we’ve got a bit more time to hopefully get them in.”

The Loons opened camp one week earlier than usual. They will continue to train in Florida and hold friendlies before returning to Minnesota on Feb. 2. They also will travel to California in mid-February for more exhibition games before opening the MLS season opener Feb. 25 at FC Dallas.

Oluwaseyi stands out

MNUFC players and staff mentioned Tani Oluwaseyi as a standout a few times after training sessions in Minnesota last week. The second-year forward was again at the forefront Wednesday after scoring the goal in Minnesota’s 1-0 win over New York City FC.

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“What we saw in glimpses was the reason we drafted him,” Heath said. “Incredibly athletic. He’s got a little bit of everything in his game and he looked dangerous again (Wednesday). He worked the back line and looked to go in behind.”

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A year ago, Oluwaseyi was selected with the 17th pick in the MLS draft, but was sidelined by complications from dislocated knee cap to start preseason and then a handful of hamstring injuries during the year. The forward had two goals and one assist in 549 minutes with MNUFC2, the club’s developmental team. The Loons picked up Oluwaseyi’s contact option for 2023.

No more on Cho?

Reports late last week had South Korean striker Cho Gue-Sung opting to stay with the club Joenbuk in his native country rather than play for MNUFC or other inquiring clubs in Europe. “We haven’t given up completely on that one,” Heath said Thursday. “… As you do in this situation, when it’s other people’s players and they are under contract, you at the end of the day are beholden to them.”

Briefly

Midfielder Joseph Rosales has a “twinge in his knee” and did not play against NYCFC, Heath said. … MNUFC will scrimmage against college players Saturday and have friendlies against Philadelphia Union and Orlando City before returning to Minnesota. … The Loons are at the limit of eight international roster spots, but Heath said a few players are close to obtaining U.S. green cards. “That would be hugely beneficial for us,” Heath said. MNUFC is seeking to add a few international players this offseason. … Emmanuel Iwe had midfoot ligament surgery on his right foot last fall and is nearing a return to full training.

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