Versatile and dependable Minnesota United midfielder Hassani Dotson will miss the rest of the season because of a torn anterior cruciate ligament suffered in Friday's training.
Dotson sustained a noncontact injury to his right knee and will undergo surgery in the coming days. He arrived at Saturday's game against Chicago Fire FC on crutches and in a protective boot.
"It's sad day for us all," Loons coach Adrian Heath said. "I felt as though he was really starting to come into his own. It's a big blow for everybody, none more so than him. But he's a strong boy. Mentally he's strong as well. One of his strengths is his physicality. I think that will help. He'll be back the beginning of next year, we think."
Heath said the club financially can replace Dotson on the roster. They also already have depth with Honduran players Joseph Rosales and Kervin Arriaga, who play some of the positions Dotson can.
"If we bring somebody in, it'll have to be somebody we're bringing in for the long term," Heath said.
Veteran teammate Robin Lod said he's "devastated" about Dotson's injury.
"These injuries are never easy and I feel really bad for him now because he's such a great player and has such potential," Lod said. "He is young and gets better every year and now he's going to miss this season. I feel really bad for him. I'm sure he'll be back and be better, for sure."
Arriaga started against Chicago in a midfield spot next to Wil Trapp that Dotson often plays. Oniel Fisher played at injured Romain Metanire's right-back spot, where Dotson has helped fill.
Heath kept his attacking front four — Franco Fragapane, Emanuel Reynoso and Robin Lod playing beneath striker Luis Amarilla — intact until he made second-half substitutions. Bongokuhle Hlongwane entered for Amarilla and Abu Danladi for Fragapane in the 62nd minute looking for goals. Those were moves that helped change the game.
Trapp picked up yet another first-half yellow card on Saturday. This one was one too many and earned him a one-game suspension for the next game, next Sunday at Los Angeles F.C.
"It's not ideal and it is something we have spoke about," Heath said. "He puts himself in a really bad position. He can't make one mistake for whatever the remaining part of the game."
A place to play
Loons homegrown goalkeeper Fred Emmings is at the first U.S. under-19 men's youth national team camp since the pandemic hit. The team opened a 10-day April training camp Friday in Carson, Calif. It runs concurrently with the U-20 MYNT camp there.
Heath said he hopes the camp will help Emmings decide whether to be part of the U.S. program or possibly play with the Luxembourg national team.
"It has been a really difficult last year for Fred with no place to play," Heath said. "This will be so good for him in the environment with his peers and I have no doubt he'll do really well."
Back from a month's stay at California treatment facility, Loons left back Chase Gasper went with the MNUFC2 reserve team to play Sunday night at St. Louis CITY2. He was a second-half sub Wednesday in a U.S. Open Cup victory at Madison, Wis., in his first game back.
"Go and get 90 minutes in," Heath said. "That's important for him now."
• Loons television commentator Kyndra de St. Aubin was the game analyst for ESPN's coverage Saturday.
• Former Loons defender Wyatt Omsberg started on Chicago Fire's backline. The Loons traded him for midfielder Raheem Edwards in February 2020.