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Training notes: January 22nd

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I spoke to Adrian Heath, Ozzie Alonso, Jan Gregus and Dayne St. Clair. Hear what the lot had to say on the first day of media-availability.

Germany v Slovakia - Round of 16: UEFA Euro 2016 Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images

Today was the first day of media-availability during the preseason for Minnesota United FC. New Superdraft players and midfielders Jan Gregus and Ozzie Alonso were present with the team as the squad embarks on their third year in the league.

Adrian Heath has consistently shared the team’s “three-year plan” and this is a make-or-break season for him and the club.

“I’m certainly standing here a lot more optimistic than I’ve been the two previous years,” Heath said. “I think we’ve got better players this year, I think we’ve got a better understanding of what’s expected of us and we’re moving into a new stadium; there’s a lot of excitement”

The training session was open for an hour to the media, and during that time, we saw newly acquired players Jan Gregus and Ozzie Alonso in action. The two midfielders are expected to slide directly into the lineup, with Alonso at the 6 and Gregus at the 8.

“I’m looking forward to winning” was the first thing that Alonso said to Adrian. “i’m excited to play here, perform here and win,” Alonso said. “You have to show everyday in training and in the game, I come here to perform and do the best for the team and then win the Championship.”

Wingers Abu Danladi and Romario Ibarra are both fully fit, and Heath expects both of them to see more field time this season. Heath also mentioned that Abu traveled to Barcelona to figure out what was wrong with his hamstrings, and the team now believes they have the answer to that problem.

Kevin Molino is finishing up rehab on his torn ACL, but a knee problem also popped up that will delay his return. it’s the opposite knee from which he tore his ACL. “It’s probably set him back a couple of weeks, but he hope to see him in Arizona with us.”

Jan Gregus’s arrival with the Loons is a big move for the team, considering he takes up their third and final ‘Designated Player’ spot. He arrives with the team after previously playing with FC Copenhagen in Denmark. In Denmark, the midfielder featured in the Europa League and in the midfield for the Slovakian National team.

“I follow the league, and I could see that it is getting better and better every year and a lot of quality players and quality teams; I’ve finished my second session here but I can say that this team has a lot of quality,” Gregus said. “ I’m here to play football, the game I love.”

When asked about winning a National Championship with Maryland, newly acquired goalkeeper Dayne St. Clair couldn’t hold back his smile. “It’s so, so surreal, you kind of imagine that you go in saying that’s the goal but to actually do it, and in the way we did it having a lot of doubters, it’s just the best feeling.”

St. Clair was drafted along with teammate Chase Gasper, whom he was roommates with in college. “Hearing his name get called was just a good feeling, and having a familiar face around is beneficial but getting to know the new guys is going to be equally as important.”

Other Practice Notes:

  • Jan Gregus (Greh-Goose) had never been to the United States prior to his landing spot with Minnesota.
  • Two Forward Madison FC players, Brian Sylvestre and Paulo Junior, were training with the team today.
  • The team scrimmages on Friday, and we’ll get a full taste of what the new players will be like in action.
  • Adrian Heath was unwilling to comment on the Agustin Rossi saga, as he won’t comment on a player that’s under contract with a different club.
  • Sam Cronin’s status has not been updated.
  • Eric Miller was not present at training, his status is in the air.