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Reynoso will be with Minnesota United for start of training

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Minnesota United star Emanuel Reynoso will be with his team when preseason training begins Monday, coach Adrian Heath said Tuesday.

Reynoso is expected at the club’s Blaine training facility after he was arrested in early December and detained for more than a week back home in Argentina.

Reynoso was held on allegations he struck a 16-year-old male with a gun at a party. Argentina media reports translated from Spanish back then quoted his lawyer saying his client did not participate in any fight or violence “because he was not there.”

Argentina authorities in his hometown of Cordoba cleared him to work in Minnesota and Major League Soccer after he posted bail approaching $10,000 American, according to those media reports.

Heath said his club and MLS continue to review the incident and allegations and he declined to comment further except to say, “Rey will be with us next week and we’ve spoke to him regularly over the last few weeks. It looks like things have settled down, but no, Rey will be with us next week, for sure.”

Heath spoke on a media video call Tuesday after the Loons selected St. John’s University (N.Y) forward Tani Oluwaseyi with the 17th overall pick in the MLS SuperDraft. The club also signed veteran defender Brent Kallman to a new two-year contract, keeping him with a franchise he first joined in its NASL days in 2015.

The Loons will start training Monday without veterans Robin Lod, Michael Boxall and newly signed 21-year-old forward South African international Bongokuhle Hlongwane from his country’s premier division and national team.

Lod has been doing required military service in his native Finland and Heath said Lod will spend time with his family before he reports near the team’s end of training in Florida. Boxall is expected back after his New Zealand national team plays a World Cup qualifier against Uzbekistan on Feb. 1.

Hlongwane is waiting for his immigration paperwork and Heath expects he’ll arrive when the team is in Florida at month’s end.

“Like everybody, we’re in the hands of officials in Washington,” Heath said.

Eyes on Amarilla

Heath said he is hopeful the Loons will add “maybe two, three” new players before they leave Florida early next month.

One of them could be another forward, and a familiar face: Luis Amarilla, who played for the Loons in an injury-marred and COVID-19 shortened 2020 season before he turned to play in Ecuador. He scored three goals in 10 games with the Loons.

Heath said his team needs two more defenders, too: a fullback who can play both outside positions and another center back who can play understudy to Boxall, Bakaye Dibassy and Kallman for two years.

Shout about

Oluwaseyi said he had few expectations about when, where and if he’d be drafted after he missed the 2021 collegiate season because of a dislocated kneecap.

His parents, brother and some cousins gathered at home in suburban Toronto hoping to hear his name called. His father watching on his phone heard it before his son did because of a five-second delay on the devices they were watching.

“He just started yelling at the top his lungs, “said Oluwaseyi, a strong and what he calls “exciting” and Heath terms “dangerous” scorer. “Then I heard my name. It was unreal and surreal. Basically 16 years of hard work, honestly. I’m really grateful for it.”

Etc.

  • Heath said the club is negotiating with loaned-out midfielder Thomas Chacon’s representatives about his future, which isn’t expected to include a return to Minnesota. Heath said he’s hopeful to reach a resolution in the “next few weeks.”
  • Heath celebrated his 61st birthday Tuesday working the draft and wearing some stylish spectacles. “Getting old,” he said.



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Sporting KC acquires winger Marinos Tzionis 

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Sporting Kansas City announced the addition of another young player with the signing of 20-year-old winger Marinos Tzionis from Omonia Nicosia in Cyprus. Tzionis has signed a three-year MLS contract through 2024 with an option for 2025 and will occupy an international spot on Sporting’s roster pending receipt of his International Transfer Certificate and P1 visa.

Tzionis has been rumored for a little over a week and he is the third young international signing this month. Robert Voloder was announce on Jan 19th and is a 20-year-old German center back. Logan Ndenbe a 21-year-old Belgian left back signed on Jan 14th. All eligible for the MLS U-22 Initiative.

SKC manager Peter Vermes and staff will likely not designate who is or is not a U-22 Initiative player until roster deadline day shortly before the season. They can take their time to decide while adding other potential players.

Just this morning, reports were coming in that he had signed and gave some numbers around the acquisition The reported transfer fee was said to be between €1.5 and €2 million, between $1.69 and $2.26 million in US Dollars and Omonia would retain 10 percent of any sell on fee. It was also reported that Tzionis would be paid €300,000 plus bonuses, $338,880 in US dollars.

Tzionis was born and raised in Nicosia, Cyprus and grew up playing for Omonia Nicosia’s academy before signing for their first team as a 15-year-old in 2017 and made his first appearance for them in 2018. The young winger made a few appearances for the first team over the next couple of years but he started to really be noticed in the 2020-21 season. Seven goals in 43 appearances and helping his club to first place with a 23-3-10 record.

The young attacker has also represented his country at the U-17 and U-19 youth levels and then the senior team starting in 2020 with a total of 13 appearances.

Tzionis is right-footed and mainly plays on the left wing where Vermes tends to like wingers who can cut inside. He has some time at attacking mid and second striker as well.

Highlights of goals.



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Report: DC United signing Greek forward Taxiarchis Fountas as Designated Player

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Fountas has a track record as a leading goalscorer in Austria’s top flight, netting 35 times in 68 league appearances. He broke onto the professional ranks in Greece with AEK Athens from 2011-13 before heading to Red Bull Salzburg.

The club’s forward group is currently headlined by Ola Kamara, who finished second in the Golden Boot presented by Audi race last season with 19 goals in 28 games, ceding the top honors to NYCFC‘s Valentin Castellanos via the assists tiebreaker.

D.C., heading into their second year under head coach Hernan Losada, missed an Eastern Conference spot in the Audi 2021 MLS Cup Playoffs by one point.





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Not another Freddy Adu: RSL’s Axel Kei ready for challenge as youngest-ever MLS signing

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You can draw the comparison if you must. He’s ready for that. In fact, this month’s milestone is actually the second time he’s broken one of Adu’s marks, having already made his pro debut back in October, when he appeared for Real Monarchs in USL Championship action on an academy contract. Kei was 13 years, 8 months and 9 days for the first record; he was 14 years and 15 days for the second.

“The whole pressure of Freddy Adu and all that stuff. I saw all that, I read all the articles, I watched all the YouTube videos,” noted Kei. “Of course there’s going to be people that want to see – ‘oh, this kid, we heard this kid is good, he’s out here breaking records, whatever, I want to see what he has, see what he got.’

“I’m not letting that get into my head. This is just like, I’m still gonna be me. I’m still gonna train. Not because people are saying they want to see this, they want to see that, that I’m gonna change my playing style. It’s just the way I am, I’m not going to change this. I’m still going to be the same Axel Kei, I’m still gonna play how I play. It’s just focusing on what I like to do – soccer.”

If you’re struggling to set a fair barometer for Kei, consider that Beltran and his colleagues at Zions Bank Training Center know all about Adu’s story. How burdensome a record like that and the comparisons it generates can be. And yet Kei’s abilities are so striking, his upward trajectory already so steep, that they could not avoid the conclusion that Salt Lake should sign him now anyway.





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