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Five Minnesota United players to watch in 2024

Teemu Pukki

The high-profile striker scored nine goals in his final nine games last season after he scored once in his first nine, after a midseason arrival from playing in both England's Premier and Championship divisions. Included were four goals in one game against the LA Galaxy. Can the designated-player striker pick up where he left off, despite missing a chunk of preseason while his son was born?

Robin Lod

He's back healthy after May knee surgery ended last season early — and back together with Finland national teammate Pukki. Lod finished preseason playing right side midfielder in a 4-3-3 formation but can play just about everywhere soon-to-be named coach Eric Ramsay prefers.

Bongokuhle Hlongwane

He broke out big time in last summer's first Leagues Cup, turning his speed and instinct into seven goals in five games. Included were two each in three consecutive games. He has the speed to press higher up the field, as Ramsay wants to play, and a scorer's touch as well. He'll make an impact this season but is doubtful to play Saturday after returning from getting his green card in South Africa.

Emanuel Reynoso

A knee knock has sidelined him for all preseason friendlies and Saturday's season opener at Austin FC. He's a ball-controlling midfielder, not a high-pressing No. 10. But it could succeed if the Loons can create new spaces where Reynoso can work.

Caden Clark

One of Minnesota's own, the 20-year-old Medina-born midfielder is back home for the first time since he left home at 14 to play in Barcelona's residency academy in Arizona. He's back in MLS after stops with the New York Red Bulls and RB Leipzig in Germany's Bundesliga. A muscle strain limited him in preseason, but he's now declared healthy.

Two newcomers of note

• Costa Rican international midfielder Alejandro Bran, 22, on loan from CS Herediano of Costa Rica's Primera Division with an option to buy.

• Forward Jordan Adebayo-Smith, 23, who scored 12 goals last season for New England's MLS Next Pro team.