When Minnesota United entered this recent FIFA international break, coach Adrian Heath said he and his staff had some evaluating to do and some "tough decisions" to make.
Three weeks later, the Loons resume their season with three consecutive road games that start Sunday at New England.
They do so with Heath seeking more production from his attacking players — particularly striker Luis Amarilla — and eyeing MLS' secondary transfer window that begins July 7 after already adding players such as Kervin Arriaga, Franco Fragapane, Adrien Hunou, Abu Danladi and Amarilla in the last two seasons.
"That's something we're actively looking at," Heath said of the transfer window. "We've got a bit of space and we've got some salary cap, so we are looking. We've got room to add one or two."
They have room and options because of midfielder Hassani Dotson's season-ending injury and defender Chase Gasper's trade to the LA Galaxy. Right back Romain Metanire's other hamstring — the left one — will sideline him again for weeks or longer after he injured it in his return in last Saturday's international friendly against SC Paderborn.
"As I've always said, if we do something, it won't just be taking us through the end of the season," Heath said. "If we're going to do anything, it'll be somebody we think can help us for the long term."
The most immediate help could be Amarilla, who scored his first goal since March 19 in that friendly.
He married, welcomed his first child and had COVID all in this season, but Heath is hopeful Amarilla — who once predicted he'd score 25 goals in a season — is finding his rhythm and stride.
"I think Luis in the last couple weeks — that goal against Paderborn sometimes can change little instances like that if somebody gets going," Heath said. "I feel as though his confidence is better. He has been working really hard at training. If we can get him scoring goals, get Robin [Lod] back scoring goals again, then we'll all be better for that."
Lod, defender Michael Boxall, goalkeeper Dayne St. Clair, forward Bongokuhle Hlongwane and midfielder Arriaga are all back from international duty.
Arriaga didn't train Friday because he played three games with his Honduras national team, including one that Heath said was played in a "monsoon."
Arriaga is expected back at training Saturday and all five players are available for Sunday's game. Left back Kemar Lawrence trained Friday after he was injured in last weekend's friendly and is cleared to play, Heath said.
After that, the Loons play road games against Inter Miami and the LA Galaxy in the next 10 days before they play four of their following six games at home, starting July 3 against Real Salt Lake.
DJ Taylor has started the last five games at right back in Metanire's absence. Heath said either Taylor or Oniel Fisher will start there Sunday. Taylor had a goal and an assist and other scoring chances in those five games.
"Nothing changes for me, keep doing what I've been doing," Taylor said. "Obviously, just try to return to that form I had before the break, whether that's a goal or an assist each game. I'm just excited to take advantage of this opportunity."
Heath said his club has room to add both to the attack and at Metanire's spot if needed during next month's transfer window.
"There are plenty of players available at this time, whether it be South America, Central America or in Europe," Heath said. "Now if we can come up with the right one with the right deal, we will do something. It's never easy as we always think it's going to be, bringing people into the club."