Minnesota United is nearing a new contract agreement with veteran defender Romain Metanire, the 30-year-old right back who was the team’s lone representative at last summer’s MLS All-Star Game.
Coach Adrian Heath called negotiations “very, very close” concerning a player signed in January 2019 after he helped his French team get promoted from the second division in its league to the first.
“He has been outstanding,” Heath said by telephone from Orlando, where his team is training for the “MLS is Back” tournament that starts with two games Wednesday.
“We’re hopeful we can come to terms on something that reflects what he has done since he has been here. He has been excellent on and off the field, hugely popular with his teammates, staff, supporters. Hopefully, it’ll be a nice reward.”
The Loons didn’t make any moves during a fleeting two-day MLS transfer window that ended Tuesday, but Heath said the team is poised to add possibly two players when a 2½-month transfer window begins Aug. 12, one day after the MLS is Back tournament final is played.
One could be adding Argentine attacking midfielder Emanuel Reynoso, whom the Loons have pursued to fill their third designated player slot since last winter.
“That’s never stopped really,” said Heath, who called Reynoso “one of a few players out there” that his team could add if/when the MLS regular season resumes in late August or September with teams playing in their home markets.
He said the team could create two designated player slots by buying out one of their two current DPs — veteran Jan Gregus or teenager Thomas Chacon — but won’t likely do that.
He said one player might fill that third and last DP slot and the other would be signed with targeted allocated money (TAM).
“We’re still in the negotiation stage,” Heath said. “I’m hopeful.”
Heath said 2019 MLS Defender of the Year Ike Opara continues to rehab in Minnesota, where he remained when his teammates flew Sunday to Orlando to train for the tournament.
He said the team is “still a few weeks away from getting him available.”
When asked if Opara could join the team and play if the Loons advance from group play to the knockout rounds, Heath said, “I don’t know more. It’s more day to day. We’ll have to wait and see what we can do.”
Opara last week tweeted he was doing “physical rehabilitation on a pre-existed condition” that kept him home.
Minnesota United plays its first Group D game Sunday against Sporting Kansas City at 7 p.m.