#FreeChacon has been the hashtag Minnesota United supporters use in a call/plea to see 20-year-old midfielder Thomas Chacon play in games.
While Loons coach Adrian Heath isn’t on social media, he did play the club’s young Designated Player in his first start of the season during a 2-1 loss to Columbus Crew on Wednesday.
As a left winger, Chacon was quiet, with zero shots and zero chances created while he completed only three of his eight passes. The Uruguayan tried to be active and had three ball recoveries but wasn’t on the same page with new striker Kei Kamara and central attacking midfielder Emanuel Reynoso.
“It wasn’t easy for him,” Heath said. “He has not played in a long time, and that has been one of the issues. It’s a real delicate one for us in terms of when do you put people in because we know they are not going to be incredibly match-sharp.”
Heath also credited Crew defender Harrison Awful for not allowing Chacon to get into a flow.
Since the Loons acquired Chacon with a transfer and a five-year deal as one of three “DP” players exempt from the MLS salary cap, he has only two shots on goal in 258 minutes in six league games.
Heath has stressed the length of Chacon’s deal in a call for patience, but early returns have been below expectations.
Earlier this month, Chacon was linked to a loan with his former Uruguay club, Danubio, but that was put on hold with the Loons’ long injury list, a situation that now seems to be abating.
Heath said they might soon look to get Chacon playing time elsewhere. “We will address that probably after the weekend,” he said.
Molino, Dibassy returns likely
Midfielder Kevin Molino (hamstring) and defender Bakaye Dibassy (undisclosed) trained Friday and should be available to play Sunday against Real Salt Lake at Allianz Field, Heath said.
Dibassy’s expected return will coincide with Jose Aja serving a one-game suspension for yellow-card accumulation, which occurred during Wednesday’s game.
Ethan Finlay (knee) and Ozzie Alonso (hamstring) did some light work Friday and could return against FC Cincinnati on Oct. 3, Heath said.
The Loons have recalled veteran center back Brent Kallman from his loan with the El Paso Locomotive, a source told the St. Paul Pioneer Press. It confirmed a first report from The Athletic.
Kallman, of Woodbury, Minn., has played five games for the USL Championship team and scored one goal.
Meanwhile, Minnesota United has no intention to end the loan of rookie fullback Noah Billingsley with the Las Vegas Lights. Billingsley has played six games for the USL side after not playing for the Loons thus far.
Las Vegas coach Frank Yallop “has been very, very pleased with him,” Heath said. “We were pleased with him before he left. We think he has a chance (to play in MLS). But we’ll keep him there and let him finish the season and get games in and get him back when it’s the right time. But at this moment, for his development, we feel as though he is best being there.”
Loons midfielder Jan Gregus was hit with an undisclosed fine on top of the one-game suspension served Wednesday for the red card he received for taking a swipe that didn’t connect with a Houston player on Sept. 19.
The fine came for not leaving the field in an “orderly manner,” the league said Friday.
“The league thought it could have gone either way,” Heath said of the red card. “But obviously you can’t do that now. They went with the intent, and in a strange way, it might have been a lesson for the simple fact that Jan needed a rest as well.”
Gregus had played in all 15 games this season before the suspension. He is eligible to play Sunday.
Loons goalkeeper Tyler Miller had his second surgery to a hip early this week. It came after surgery to the other hip on Aug. 19. Miller, who started the first eight games this year, will now rehab to return for the 2021 season.