Nobody is inside Heath and Watson’s mind, nobody knows how much Dr. Bill McGuire is willing to spend on a player like Reynoso. Would a player like Reynoso be a lot of fun to watch and bring some new spectators to see Minnesota United because of the “quality”, undoubtably yes.
However with the roster MNUFC are starting to put together they don’t need Reynoso. In fact you could make a convincing argument they are a better team without him (and you could also make the point they are a better team with him).
Reynoso has the pedigree you’d want to spend the reported $5+ million on based on his past two years at Club Atlético Boca Juniors. He has played roughly 50% of available minutes and started around the same percentage. That’s the perfect range of playing and not playing for a club like United to have interest from all parties for this to happen. I have no experience in transfer negotiations, but it isn’t hard to see Boca has some good leverage over United. The part many don’t see is the leverage MNUFC have over Boca, they don’t need Reynoso to compete in MLS this year. That matters a lot in these negotiations and is why Watson came back from Buenos Aires without him at first. Reynoso is the type of player that makes your technical director travel to Argentina multiple times to get the deal done.
Either Mark Watson scheduled more tango lessons or #MNUFC took a defibrillator to #ReynosoWatch because Watson travels back to Buenos Aires on Monday!!! pic.twitter.com/W4KlDrcZzG— Mark Fangmeier (@mrfangmeier) February 21, 2020
Is this because he’s more effective there or is it managers preference? He’s interchangeable and that is what matters. I’m comfortable in saying most fans think he should play the “10”, the issue I see with that is it would be what happened with Darwin last year (I talked in more detail about the relationship of the “10” and the “9” here).
Most Loons fans would want to see Heath go all out with something like below. Keep in mind that the midfield attacking trio underneath would be fluid in interchanging positions on the field, while also interchanging which players play given in-game scenarios.
Darwin operated more as a second striker who played in tandem with the central striker, Reynoso is much more of a winger than a second striker. Heath was often restricted by Darwin, which drew him criticism when he left him out of the starting XI. Reynoso seems to be a more versatile fit for MNUFC than Darwin was, but this type of signing can still cause issues.
I hadn't thought to check the map, but I think I see the fascination with Reynoso now.#ReynosoWatch #MNUFC pic.twitter.com/b2eyA8yCnD— Bridget McDowell (@BCMcDowell) February 22, 2020
This type of creative playmaker at the “10” still causes similar issues to Darwin for the rest of the team, even though Reynoso is a different player profile. When MNUFC defends in a deeper 4-4-2 block the opposing “6” is allowed to dictate the game without much pressure on them. This works if you are able to stay organized and disciplined, which the Loons were last year. However, this was out of necessity, having tactical flexibility is the most important thing this year for the Loons. Without it they will be found out by the league this year, MNUFC aren’t catching anyone by surprise.
If Watson comes back without Reynoso’s signature they still have the flexibility to play in different shapes, they still have the player personnel to “plug and play” across multiple positions. MNUFC reinforced their depth over the offseason with smart signings that can fill multiple roles like Hayes, Musa, and Edwards. As well as going back to last year in Hairston and drafting Dotson. That flexibility allows you to cover depth in multiple positions and free up budget to be spent further up the field. This functional depth is crucial when you want to play in multiple systems and MNUFC can do this without Reynoso.
When talking about that functional depth it allows MNUFC to find players like James Musa and give them time to adjust, just like Marlon Hairston last year. See Musa below when playing for Phoenix in USL Championship last year. He makes a run from midfield to score this goal, nothing overly special, however this is the profile of an outside back for MNUFC. These types of players allow flexibility in how you provide depth to your roster when injuries happen.
1...2...3...— Phoenix Rising FC (@PHXRisingFC) July 20, 2019
G O A L
James Musa doubles the lead. #UpRising pic.twitter.com/LqDigLsW5W
When it comes to Reynoso it’s a complicated fit in a variety of ways outside of “he’s a good player.” So many factors impact how a player performs on the field and how long it takes to adjust, from languages spoken to finding a place to live. These deals become incredibly complex independent of the cap management gymnastics. Reynoso has the pedigree and most likely the quality in a player that can take the Loons to another level, and I hope I can watch him and players like him at Allianz Field. However the Loons do not need him because they have done the work in advance to build a team with depth. MNUFC do not need an individual to bail them out of games anymore like they did with Darwin in the past, because they have constructed a roster that fits together. If Reynoso does join the team he will be required to fit within a system and improve the quality of play, not to be a “luxury player.”