Given his only chance at a first impression with his new teammates, Minnesota United midfielder Thomas Chacon made his a good one Tuesday during his first training session.
He trained for nearly 90 minutes indoors with the team inside the National Sports Center in Blaine, away from the morning rain. Chacon will travel with the team for its game at Sporting Kansas City on Thursday.
"Then we'll decide," United coach Adrian Heath said, referring to whether Chacon, 19, will make his MLS debut that night or in the U.S. Open Cup final at Atlanta United next Tuesday.
Chacon was early in his season for Danubio in Uruguay's first division when United acquired him for a multimillion-dollar transfer fee and signed him to a five-year MLS contract earlier this month. He last played a game July 27 and calls himself "not yet 100 percent" in training and conditioning.
"While I have been training, it hasn't been to the full capacity that I'm normally used to," he said in Spanish through an interpreter. "I know it might be a little time until I'm 100 percent. Any minutes I can get with the team will definitely help. … I'm looking forward to being with the team."
His first step toward playing in games again was Tuesday's training where, with some guidance from United star Darwin Quintero and other Spanish-speaking teammates, he participated in drills and preparation for Thursday's game. The team is not expected to have injured players Ozzie Alonso, Angelo Rodriguez and Kevin Molino available.
Three days after his 19th birthday, the team's youngest player, who stands just 5-5, impressed one of its most accomplished veterans.
"You could see he has some technical ability," said United center back Ike Opara, MLS' 2017 Defender of the Year. "He's quick and he's pretty intelligent just based on being able to step into this environment and being able to gel as quickly as he did in one session."
Chacon arrived in Minnesota via Miami on Sunday morning after an 18-hour journey from the Southern Hemisphere. He had a physical examination and completed employment paperwork Monday before he attended that night's Twins-Chicago White Sox game.
"Definitely it left a big impression so far," he said about his new home. "It's just a very different place to be from Uruguay. I've gotten to know Minneapolis a little bit and come to find it a very beautiful city."
Heath called Chacon's first practice "early days for a player" and likened Tuesday to a "first day at a new school" where you don't quite know everybody.
"But he's got talent, we know that," Heath said. "Really quick. Good first touch. Really good running with the ball. Likes to combine with players. So he seems like a good kid. We're looking forward to working with him."
That process began Tuesday, but there are only eight MLS regular-season games left.
"We've got to do a really good job — especially if he is going to make an impact in the short season we have left — of bringing him along," Opara said. "We have to put him in positions where he can have an impact because I think just today you can see he has a little something to his game. I'm excited to see where it goes in the future."
• Alonso (thigh) and Rodriguez (hamstring) are improving, but neither is expected to play Thursday. "I'd be really surprised certainly if Ozzie is not available for the Cup final," Heath said. "But we won't risk him on Thursday."
• Molino didn't train with the team Tuesday because he was a "little bit tight in a couple areas," Heath said. "We will not take the risk on Thursday with the game on Tuesday."
• Heath called newly signed defender Wilfried Moimbe-Tahrat ready to play: "We feel like he's at the stage now where he can play for us, if need be."