Instead of three, the Loons will have only player go on national team duty: central midfielder Jan Gregus with Slovakia. Robin Lod (Finland) and Kevin Molino (Trinidad and Tobago) will remain with the MLS club.
Gregus, a Loons Designated Player and key midfield cog in 17 of 18 games this season, traveled to Europe on Monday.
“We were very, very hopeful, and Jan was very hopeful, that he would be allowed to stay,” United manager Adrian Heath said Monday. “I fully understand the international coaches, but I’m sure they would be the first to understand that this situation is ridiculous.”
Instead of being out for a couple of games like in a normal year, Gregus could miss roughly five or six of United’s eight remaining regular-season games during this shortened campaign. Slovakia has three games scheduled through Oct. 14, and Gregus would be subjected to the MLS guideline of a 10-day quarantine for those who travel via airplane during the coronavirus.
The imminent return of defensive midfielder Ozzie Alonso from a hamstring injury, potentially as soon as Sunday’s game against FC Dallas, is expected to help offset the loss of Gregus.
Molino, who is staying with the club as his national team is suspended from FIFA play, was a second-half sub in Saturday’s 2-0 victory over Cincinnati and could get more playing time Tuesday.
Lod and Finland worked out an agreement for him to stay with the Loons for now. “I think a little bit of common sense has prevailed,” Heath said, adding Lod still could get a breather against Nashville.
But Lod and many others could be off to handle national team duties in November, when the regular season ends and the MLS Cup playoffs start. Romain Metanire (Madagascar) and Bakaye Dibassy (Mali) would be added to this list with African Nation’s League games.
On Tuesday, the Loons also will be without Chase Gasper, who is suspended due to card accumulation. But winger Ethan Finlay (knee) is also on the verge of comeback.
It has been more than four years, but Abu Danladi’s hamstring injuries have followed the striker to Nashville. That was the same case going back to when the Loons selected the UCLA forward in the 2017 draft.
Danladi has missed four straight games for the new club and has dealt with back and hamstring injuries this season. He has only one goal in 302 minutes, but is available to play Tuesday.
Heath lamented having Danladi leave in the expansion draft last winter.
“In perfect circumstances, other circumstances, I would have liked to have kept him, for sure,” Heath said.
United will have to expose another list of players with Austin (Texas) FC’s expansion draft coming this winter. “We are going to have difficult decisions this year as well,” Heath said.
The Loons are seeking another local medical opinion this week on whether striker Luis Amarilla needs surgery on his ankle.
“It’s a big decision on the back of Mason (Toye’s trade to Montreal last week), so we are hoping that he doesn’t need an op and he can get through it to the end of the year,” Heath said.
United lost talented youth academy player Bajung Darboe to the Philadelphia Union on Friday. The 13-year-old attacker from Madison, Wis., was arguably the Loons’ best prospect but left with major changes going on with its academy structure. … Nashville SC had a COVID-19 case last week and listed six players on its medically uncleared list Monday. … Loons draft pick Noah Billingsley contracted the novel coronavirus before the MLS is Back Tournament and before he went on loan to USL side Las Vegas Lights, Heath said. Billingsley will be back with the Loons soon and might not have to go through the standard 10-day quarantine since he has had the virus.