Minnesota United star midfielder Emanuel Reynoso learned during the week that he's headed to play in the MLS All-Star game against Mexico's best later this month in Los Angeles.
Both he and his coach say they don't believe he should be going alone.
Teammate Robin Lod leads the Loons in goals with five, two of them in the 75th minute or beyond in two of the past three games. The production continued Saturday, when he scored the Loons' first goal of the game against Houston.
His 85th-minute goal off Reynoso's gorgeous lead pass two weeks ago beat Portland 2-1. His 75th-minute goal last week against Vancouver would have been another game winner, too, if the Whitecaps hadn't been awarded a penalty kick late in second-half stoppage time.
"I thought Robin might earn a shout," Loons coach Adrian Heath said. "He's consistently performed. Last year, what did he do? Double-figure goals and lots of assists, starting again this year. A bit disappointed for him."
Lod had seven goals and five assists last season for a club in which Heath also called veteran Tyler Miller worthy, as well, this season. He has lost one regular-season game since last season's start.
"When you consider amount of time he has been here and games played, that's some record," Heath said. "So we're disappointed for a couple others, but delighted for Rey."
Picked for the team by MLS and LAFC coach Bob Bradley, Reynoso called a club that lost once in 12 games before Saturday deserving.
"I think we all deserve to go, but oh, well," he said in Spanish through an interpreter. "Robin deserves it, too. He has scored so many goals for us. But those are decisions made at the league, and you have to respect that."
Hunou strikes again!
Heath moved striker Adrien Hunou back to starter up and played Ethan Finlay, Reynoso and Lod behind him. Veteran defender Brent Kallman started again for injured Michael Boxall, and Chase Gasper returned from a hip injury to start at left back.
Mixing it up
The Loons used a week since last Saturday's game in different ways. Wednesday's training in Blaine was as difficult as any this season. Thursday was a fun day when players competed in skills contests.
"We always have a tough training session and one more fun, to enjoy and laugh," Reynoso said. "That's really good for the harmony of the group."
Minnesota United is likely to host the MLS All-Star Game in 2022 or 2023. Past opponents have included Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid and Bayern Munich.
"Hopefully it's our turn soon," Heath said. "I'd be very disappointed if in the next couple years we don't receive the All-Star Game, because the stadium is befitting of an All-Star Game."