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Minnesota United star Emanuel Reynoso to join team for preseason in Arizona

The 2024 version of the Rey No Show will not drag on for months.

Last year, Minnesota United star Emanuel Reynoso didn’t report to the MLS club for four long months, but this year’s unexcused absence lasted only one week.

MNUFC said Sunday that Reynoso has arrived in Minnesota and the Argentine central attacking midfielder will undergo medical and physical testing before joining the team for preseason work in Tucson, Ariz.

Reynoso, 28, did not report to preseason training as scheduled on Jan. 13 and missed the first full week of preparations in Blaine. The team flew to Arizona on Sunday for three preseason competitions through Jan. 31. A likely timeline is for the two-time MLS All-Star to join his teammates and coaches by mid-week.

It’s immediately unclear why Reynoso was away to start preseason this year. The club’s statement Sunday did not include any further context or details.

Reynoso again going AWOL was another whammy in the club’s peculiar winter. Its new Chief Soccer Officer Khaled El-Ahmed has not yet arrived in person due to visa issues, and the Loons are nearing the start of the 2024 season without a permanent head coach.

Captain Wil Trapp talked about being on time as one of the non-negotiable items for the club as they navigate time under interim head coach Cameron Knowles.

Last year, Reynoso failed to report to preseason camp in early January and stayed away until early May. He was suspended by MLS without pay in mid-February and missed 40% of the Loons’ regular-season games before his June debut.

Reynoso totaled six goals and four primary assists in 18 MLS games last season.

Reynoso said last year’s prolonged absence was due to a family issue, and in October he reiterated that the issue was in the past.

The Loons signed Reynoso to a three-year contract in September 2022; he is now MNUFC’s second-highest paid player at $2.1 million, according to MLS Players’ Association.

It appeared his paychecks wouldn’t have been issued if he remained away in 2024.

Having Reynoso in the fold and getting up to speed in preseason should help a team that failed to make the 2023 MLS Cup Playoffs — their first postseason absence since 2018.

MNUFC will play Sporting Arizona, a “professional development club,” on Wednesday and CF Montreal at 7 p.m. Saturday. The Loons will have an intrasquad scrimmage Jan. 31.

MNUFC will return to Minnesota for a few days before a second preseason trip to the Coachella Valley Invitational at the Empire Polo Club in Indio, Calif., in mid-February. They will play three matches: Phoenix Rising FC (Feb. 10), Chicago Fire (Feb. 14) and Charlotte FC (Feb. 17).

The season opener is Feb. 24 at Austin FC.