Author: ANDY GREDER
With the MLS regular season starting in less than two weeks, Minnesota United’s presumed opening day goalkeeper Vito Mannone has left preseason training in Florida to finalize immigration paperwork in England.
The club announced Mannone’s trip on Sunday — a week after his first training session with the Loons on Feb. 11.
Mannone, an Italian who has played in Britain since 2009, is with Minnesota on a year-long loan, and this will delay his acclimation to a rebuilt defense with many new players.
“He is expected to return prior to the start of the season,” the club’s statement read. But it’s unclear how much lead time Mannone could have before Minnesota plays the Vancouver Whitecaps on March 2.
Mannone started and played 63 minutes in the Loons’ 1-0 exhibition win over New England Revolution on Saturday. Backup ‘keeper Bobby Shuttleworth, who started 84 percent of the Loons’ games in their first two seasons, relieved Mannone during Sunday’s second half.
“Good to make my debut for @MNUFC,” Mannone tweeted. “But mainly happy for the win. Well done boys.”
ROOKIES SIGNED FOR 2019
Rookies Chase Gasper and Hassani Dotson signed contracts with the Loons, the club announced Saturday.
Gasper, a fullback taken with the 15th-overall pick in the SuperDraft in January, and Dotson, a midfielder selected with the 31st pick, join goalkeeper Dayne St. Clair as first-year players with Minnesota this year.
St. Clair, who was taken with the seventh overall pick, was signed to a Generation Adidas contract pre-draft, a deal that doesn’t count against United’s salary budget.