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Loons’ Dayne St. Clair and Emanuel Reynoso named to MLS All-Star Game

They were selected by Adrian Heath, who will serve as MLS head coach in the showcase event against Mexico’s Liga MX.

MLS: Colorado Rapids at Minnesota United FC
Minnesota United goalkeeper Dayne St. Clair (97) reacts after a save against the Colorado Rapids in the first half of an April 16, 2022, game at Allianz Field in St. Paul.
Matt Krohn / USA Today Sports
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ST. PAUL — Before Minnesota United’s training session Tuesday, Adrian Heath reveled to the team the Loons players who will be joining him at the MLS All-Star Game at Allianz Field on Aug. 10.

It’s Loons goalkeeper Dayne St. Clair and central attacking midfielder Emanuel Reynoso. They were selected by Heath, who will serve as MLS head coach in the showcase event against Mexico’s Liga MX. Heath selected 12 of the 26 players on the roster.

“It’s a huge accomplishment for me personally,” said St. Clair, a fourth-year player making his first All-Star Game appearance. “For the club as well to be hosting it and have a couple of players involved. … And congrats to Rey as well.”

Reynoso, who earned an All-Star Game nod a year ago, has a team-high seven goals and five assists this season. He is one of only three MLS players with that level of production this season, along with Nashville’s Hany Mukhtar (10 goals, five assists) and Philadelphia’s Daniel Gazdag (seven goals, five assists).

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St. Clair, who stepped into the starting role in the third game of this season, ranks second in MLS in expected goals minus goals allowed (plus-5.5). St. Clair has 63 total saves, one of only five goalkeepers in the league with at least 60 saves this season.

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“They are both worthy of the accolade because, certainly Dayne, since he has come into the team has been outstanding,” Heath said. “Everybody knows my feelings on Rey. He is starting to put some end product to the game that we know he’s got.”

Heath said Loons midfielder Robin Lod “deserved an opportunity, but that wasn’t to be. Overall, as you can see with the squad, there is a lot of quality there and a lot of quality that hasn’t made it as well.”

MLS: Minnesota United FC at LA Galaxy
Minnesota United FC midfielder Emanuel Reynoso reacts after scoring a goal during the first half against the Los Angeles Galaxy on June 29, 2022, at Dignity Health Sports Park in Los Angeles.
Kiyoshi Mio / USA Today Sports

Lod could be considered as an injury replacement for selected players withdrawing over the next month.

Three other MNUFC players have represented the team in the All-Star Game — attacker Darwin Quintero in 2017, defender Francisco Calvo in 2018 and fullback Romain Metanire in 2019.

Reynoso did not play in last year’s game in Los Angeles due to a handful of slight injuries.

Benitez signs

United announced Tuesday the signing of right back Alan Benitez to a contract through the 2024 season and a club option for 2025. Benitez was going to be out of contract with Paraguayan club Cerro Porteno at the end of the season, which helps bring down transfer costs for the Loons.

Benitez, 28, has played for the Paraguyan national team and for three different clubs in Paraguay’s Primera Division since 2017. He has four goals and five assists across those six seasons.

The Loons have sought more attacking threats from their right back this season as Metanire has played just 22 minutes due to nagging hamstring injuries. D.J. Taylor has become the primary right back as the season progressed.

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“He’s very very good in an opponent’s half, very forward thinking,” Heath said of Benitez. “… A big part of our attacking play is getting our outside backs further up the pitch, and he’s certainly got really good quality in the final third.”

Heath said the Loons consulted with striker Luis Amarilla, a teammate on the Paraguyan national team, and Amarilla “spoke glowingly about him as a professional.” MNUFC reps also traveled to South America to watch Benitez play live.

Briefly

Minnesota (8-8-2) puts its three-game winning streak on the line against Sporting Kansas City (5-11-4) at 7 p.m. Wednesday. It will air on ESPN, with their top broadcast group, Jon Champion and Taylor Twellman, on the call. … Benitez trained Monday and Tuesday, but will not be available to play Wednesday due to immigration paperwork that has not cleared. … Joseph Rosales has overcome his illness last week but was not on the club’s availability report Tuesday. Kervin Arriaga had swelling in his ankle injury subside, but he has not trained this week. … MNUFC2 brought in attacking midfielder Sagir Arce, 20, on a loan from Mazatlan FC on Saturday. The Kansas City, Missouri-born player had two assists in 323 Liga MX minutes in 2021-22 and six goals for its Under-20 side. He played 15 minutes in a 2-1 loss to St. Louis City 2 on Sunday. The Loons hold a purchase option on Arce, a source said. … Loons social media manager Mike Shields, who has been with the club for six years, has taken a position with the Men In Blazers soccer production.

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