Long-awaited and recently signed Minnesota United forward Mender Garcia was in the house Tuesday in Blaine, giving the Loons one more available body up top to a front four so potent recently coach Adrian Heath doesn't want to change it.
That means left-side attacker Franco Fragapane, playmaking midfielder Emanuel Reynoso, right-side attacker Bongokuhle Hlongwane and striker Luis Amarilla all will remain where they are. Which means versatile Robin Lod likely will stay farther down the field in a center and defensive position to which he moved in an emergency seven games ago.
But now defensive midfielder Wil Trapp is due back from injury Saturday. Kervin Arriaga returned in Sunday's 2-1 victory at Nashville after missing nearly two months. Joseph Rosales came on Sunday as a second-half sub and two minutes later assisted on Alan Benitez's game-winning goal in the 75th minute.
Now Heath must decide just where Lod fits best after he has played seven of the last eight games — he was suspended for a game at Colorado — in more of a defensive role.
In that time, Lod has proved what Heath has always said about him: The veteran and Finland national team member, who recently signed a new contract, can play just about anywhere.
"I would be loathe to leave any of the front four out at the minute, so I would probably leave him where he is at this moment in time," Heath said. "Obviously that becomes a headache for me to put together the team with everybody coming back fit. There's a real competition for a lot of spots now. That makes my job a bit more difficult, no doubt.
"But that's part of the game. We have to do what's right to win a particular game and that's what we'll do."
That means playing Lod wherever the team needs him.
"He gets the game," Heath said. "He gets in really good spots defensively. When it turns over, there were a couple balls the other night we would have been in trouble if he hadn't read the situation. Wherever you play him, he knows what the role entails on both sides of the ball. The reason we gave him another new deal is because we know what we've got."
Garcia joins team
Garcia was at the club's Blaine training facility finishing up his medical work on Tuesday afternoon. Heath said Garcia will train with the group Wednesday morning and be available for selection on Saturday.
"I'd be really surprised if there's anyone quicker than him in the league," Heath said.
When asked what Garcia's best position is, Heath said, "He thinks it's center forward. He has played wide. When I ask him the question, he said, "Anywhere you want to play me, Coach.' He just wants to get out here and start playing."
Reynoso overcomes ankle
Lod rode the bike and worked on his own Tuesday, as he does on regeneration days after a game. Veteran left back Kemar Lawrence worked on his own, too, as did Reynoso, who has played on a sore ankle and was kicked in the calf on Sunday.
"It's still a little bit swollen after games, but I don't think it's anything he won't get through," Heath said about Reynoso's ankle. "His ankle has been the issue, swelling up after games. It takes a couple days to get the swelling down and inflammation out, but he seems fine."
Showing his worth
Former Mexican national team player and central midfielder Jonathan Gonzalez made his Minnesota and MLS debut Sunday by playing the final 10 minutes at Nashville.
"There's going to be a lot of competition for them two spots," Heath said. "He might have to be patient. One thing I do know from watching him is he can contribute for us. ... He has made it pretty clear to us he'd like to stay here long-term. We'll give him every opportunity to show us that he can."