Minnesota United coach Adrian Heath called it like he saw it in reviewing Saturday's wild 4-4 draw with Portland: That wasn't the back four — or the back five, if you include goalkeeper Dayne St. Clair — he knows and loves.
"Nobody's given our back four — or our back five — as much praise as I have the last three years because they've been a real pillar on our team," Heath said on Tuesday. "We can't get away from the fact that was possibly the worst our back four has played in the last two, three years. We'll see what happens on the weekend."
The Loons will swap veteran center back Brent Kallman for Michael Boxall in Saturday's starting 11 at Colorado after Boxall, star playmaker Emanuel Reynoso and versatile Robin Lod all picked up one yellow card too many against Portland. Heath called Boxall, Bakaye Dibassy, Kemar Lawrence and DJ Taylor — his collective back four — as "second-best all over" on Saturday.
"We were masters in our own downfall, really, because we just weren't aggressive enough with the first ball forward," Heath said.
When asked what he expects from his backline next time out, Heath said, "What do I expect? I expect it to be better for sure."
Heath could swap newly signed Paraguayan national team defender Alan Benitez at right back for Taylor on Saturday after he was a second-half sub his first two MLS games with the Loons.
"He's highly experienced," Heath said. "We know what we've got. We've got a few decisions to make by the weekend."
Benitez made his Loons debut in an international friendly 4-0 victory over English Premier League Everton, just hours after his immigration paperwork cleared.
"Honestly, I was very surprised by how well the team played that day," Benitez said in Spanish through a team translator. "We won well against a Premier team, a team that is from one of the best leagues in the world. And in the season, I feel good. Totally (different) from the league in Paraguay. Here you play very fast, have to run a lot. But I'm used to that."
Another move coming?
MLS' secondary transfer window ends Thursday. Heath said after Tuesday training there's a "50-50" chance his club makes another move. "There's a couple of things on the boil at the minute," Heath said. "We have to see where we are."
Garcia on his way
Newly signed forward Mender Garcia had his immigration appointment back home in Colombia on Monday. "We've not given up hope having him in here by the weekend," Heath said.
• Heath said there have been discussions about sending injured veteran right back Romain Metanire back to France to work with his familiar physical therapists. "We'll see where that leads us," he said. Metanire has played just 22 minutes this season because of hamstring injuries.
• Lod didn't train Tuesday because of what Heath called "a bit of a calf stretch" and added, "There's no point. He's got a couple weeks before his next game. We're hoping by Wednesday, Thursday he'll be in training and we'll build him up next week."