Storylines is back with all the windows rolled down and the volume cranked to 11 just blasting Loverboy’s “Everybody’s Working For The Weekend” as the Loons go all gas, no break, into Saturday’s match up with Toronto FC. This comes on the heels of a battle down in Austin on Wednesday night that saw the boys put in maximum effort, but ultimately, run out of time. Sure, not exactly the result we wanted, but we were in the fight the whole time, and in some cases, a good scrap can really take it out of you. And with a Loons recent run of two games per week, it’s safe to assume that the boys in Black and Blue may be feeling a little of that black and blue too.
Wednesday night may have shown just a little of that wear and tear taking a slight toll, as a couple of the boys ended up getting dinged up at Austin. More specifically, Kemar Lawrence, having to check out early due to a hamstring injury, and also Joseph Rosales taking a tough knock in the late stages of the game and then experiencing some discomfort that looked to be a groin issue. Obviously, with Lawrence being a key component of the defensive back line and Rosales scoring his first goal against Austin, these are key players that the Loons would be better with than without this weekend. But, at same time, the season is a marathon, not a sprint, and with quite a few of the starting 11 putting in an increased amount of minutes as of late, the Loons will no doubt be proceeding into Saturday’s cross-conference matchup with Toronto with an air of caution.
As a veteran in this league, Cap Trapp knows all too well what a stretch of the season with two games per week can do to a player's fitness. And, when it comes to teammates, resting the body is crucial to staying fit for the rest of the season ahead. He alluded to that fact during training after the Austin match.
“It’s wrapping the guys up in cotton wool that have been playing lots of minutes. You look at Boxy [Michael Boxall], Bongi [Bongokuhle Hlongwane], Kemar [Lawrence], DJ [Taylor]... these guys have played nearly every minute of all seven games we’ve had, and it takes a toll. I think it’s just getting those guys as rested as possible. Then, it’s as we always say, it’s looking at what Toronto brings. But ultimately, we’re pleased to be going home for this last game before there’s no midweek game. We’re really happy to be at home and really relax somewhat tomorrow, Friday. Then prepare again for Saturday.”
Another way to avoid overworking key players during the two-game per week stretch is bringing in reinforcements with fresh legs. And, according to the gaffer, the Loons are primed to see two very big, important reinforcers in the form of Emanuel Reynoso and Bakaye Dibassy due to return to the pitch in the near future. When asked about the possibility of seeing Reynoso and Dibassy again this weekend, Coach Heath made it clear that Dibassy is close but not quite ready yet. As for Reynoso, the gaff had this to say about his availability for Toronto.
“Bakaye [Dibassy] definitely not. Rey [Emanuel Reynoso] I would think maybe. I don’t know, maybe on the bench or something like that. He’s worked really, really hard. I spoke to the second team trainer today, Cameron Knowles, he said he [Reynoso] was excellent this morning. Worked really, really hard. He’s getting frustrated, he wants to play, but we have to be mindful of the fact that he hasn’t played and done an awful lot for a long time. But no, he’s not far away, that’s the best way to describe him.”
Much like the player himself, Loons fans are more than ready to see el Rey make his season debut. Hopefully, Saturday against Bob Bradley and Toronto FC, we’ll all get that chance.
Minnesota United FC vs Toronto FC
Allianz Field | St. Paul, Minnesota
06.03.2023 | MLS Game #16
7:30 p.m. CT (MLS Season Pass, 1500 ESPN)