Loons’ Robin Lod in company of MLS stars, but still passes on spotlight

Robin Lod’s hot start this season has the Loons’ midfielder in danger of finally shedding his long-held status as one of the most underrated players in Major League Soccer.

The Finnish international has three goals and five assists through seven games in 2024, and those eight total goal contributions are on par or just off the pace of some of the brightest stars in MLS. Lod is tied with 2023 MLS MVP Lucho Acosta in Cincinnati and two behind Inter Miami superstars Leo Messi and Luis Suarez.

“It’s something I’ve been working on, especially coming from the injury,” Lod said Tuesday in reference to his season-ending meniscus injury suffered 11 months ago. “I feel like I have a lot of energy and (hunger) to show up. It’s something I’ve been focusing on to just have those goal contributions to help the team.”

Lod doesn’t pay too much attention to the company he now keeps and is content in continuing to shirk the spotlight.

“I don’t need that extra” attention, Lod said. “I know when I’m playing good. It’s enough that the coach is here (and) likes what I do. That’s all that matters for me.”

New MNUFC head coach Eric Ramsay now highly rates Lod.

“He is one of those players that you can’t appreciate quite how good of a player he is until you’ve seen him up close and you can appreciate how he can execute various ways of playing,” Ramsay said. “He can play within different systems. Obviously, he’s relatively both footed, athletic.”

Ramsay said Lod has built himself up to 100 percent in the last few weeks, an elite level on display late in games when he has set up Tani Oluwaseyi and Franco Fragapane’s goals against Real Salt Lake and Houston Dynamo at Allianz Field earlier this month.

Lod then assisted on Oluwaseyi and Hassani Dotson’s goals, and Lod scored one of his own in the 3-0 win at Charlotte FC on Sunday.

“He’s also getting back to his best as well; he would say that himself,” Ramsay said. “You’ve seen him in the last two or three games that he’s finishing the games really strong. As the game starts to open up, he comes into his own. He’s a really good player for the MLS for this level, and he’s brilliant to work with.”

Window shutting quietly

MNUFC did not make any roster moves with the MLS primary transfer window closing Tuesday.

That has been by design.

Loons Chief Soccer Officer Khaled El-Ahmad, who has only slightly tinkered with the roster he inherited this year, is keeping the salary flexibility and open roster spots available for what is expected to be a more active summer transfer window.

MLS is expected, according to The Athletic, to implement two roster paths for clubs: No. 1: Clubs can have up to two Designated Players and four Under-22 Initiative spots, plus $2 million in General Allocation Money (GAM). Or No. 2: Clubs can carry three DPs and three U-22 players.

The Loons are expected to pursue the two DP/four U22 route, which would further help them achieve one of their goals of creating a younger team for the future.

The summer transfer window runs from July 18 to Aug. 14, and it might include offloading absentee DP Emanuel Reynoso to another club via intra-league trade or transfer outside of MLS.


Winger Sang Bin Jeong suffered a muscle cramp when he was stretchered off the field in South Korea’s Asian Cup Under-23 win over Japan on Monday, Ramsay said. Jeong will remain with his national team in its Olympic qualifying tournament, which continues in the knockout stage versus. Indonesia on Thursday. He will miss Loons-Sporting Kansas City match in St. Paul on Saturday. … Coming off a hat trick in MNUFC2’s 4-3 win Sunday, mdifeidler Carlos Harvey might see an opportunity with the first team in the near future. “He’s had a really good couple of week,” Ramsay said. “He’s notably improving on his level of fitness and readiness and obviously he’s had a couple of really good impacts on the second team. Every time he has been with (the first team), he has trained really well recently. I think his chance (in MLS) is just around the corner.”