ST. PAUL -- Minnesota United enjoyed a positive first impression of new forward Luis Amarilla in a 5-0 preseason win over Miami FC on Saturday, while getting closer to complementing him with fellow attacker Emanuel Reynoso.
Amarilla scored a goal in his Loons debut in Melbourne, Fla., while fellow striker Mason Toye scored twice. Jan Gregus and rookie Andrew Booth added a goal piece.
Meanwhile, the Loons’ attempt to put Reynoso, a 24-year-old Argentine midfielder, alongside Amarilla has advanced in talks with Argentina club Boca Juniors over the last two days. Amarilla, a 24-year-old Paraguyan, is on a one-year loan with a purchase option, and Reynoso could come in on similar terms or they could be working on a Designated Player deal.
“I think it’s moved on significantly over the last 48 hours, so we are hoping that we are not far away,” coach Adrian Heath said Saturday.
Heath said that timeline could be wrapped up soon and not extend toward the season opener on March 1 or near the end of the primary transfer window in May. “No, we are hopeful in the next week or so,” he said.
Reynoso was kept out of the starting lineup for Boca Juniors on Saturday night, but came on as a substitute and had a key pass to set up the clinching penalty in a 2-0 win. It could signal his final game at their unique stadium the Bombonera.
On Saturday in Florida, the Loons also started a trialist center back Oswaldo Henriquez, a 30-year-old Colombian who is without a club after playing for Brazil’s Vasco da Gama. Heath said they were taking a look at Henriqiez while also having “other things in the pipeline” to add depth at that position.
Heath said they are resting starting center back Ike Opara in the preseason games to maintain his availability for meaningful games and for him to get over minor injuries.
Heath also said the club is closer to adding backup striker Aaron Schoenfeld, a Knoxville, Tenn., native out of contract after playing in Israel. “He should be in” Sunday, Heath said in reference to housewarming events planned for Allianz Field on Sunday.