Loons look forward to ‘special night’ with Everton

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Minnesota United’s international friendly against Everton will be both competition and celebration at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Allianz Field.

Loons players will be tested against a Premier League side, and Minnesota manager Adrian Heath will be able to reflect on his glory days as an attacking player in England.

“We are really excited,” Heath said Tuesday. “It’s a real coup for the club to get a club of that magnitude to play (in Everton’s) preseason. With my history there, it’s going to be a special night for me and my family.”

Heath scored 94 goals in 308 appearances for Everton from 1982-88 and remains connected and passionate about the club for whom he played at the pinnacle of his career.

Minnesota is unbeaten in a season-high five MLS games and will use the exhibition to give its core group of players the start before many exit at halftime, Heath said. Loons backups and second-team players will finish the game.

“It’s a great measuring stick for them to go up against Premier League footballers,” Heath said.

The Loons, who have climbed into the top four in the Western Conference, will be mindful of their MLS game at Houston Dynamo on Saturday night.

MORE ON MIDFIELDERS

Kervin Arriaga (ankle) was more involved in training Tuesday, but the Honduran is not expected to play against Everton. The same goes for Wil Trapp, who exited last Saturday’s 2-0 victory over D.C. United with a hamstring injury.

Heath said postgame that Trapp’s injury was “not good,” but further assessments of Trapp’s setback indicate his injury is not as severe as first feared, the Pioneer Press learned Tuesday. It’s still unclear how long Trapp, the Loons’ captain defensive midfielder, will be sidelined.

Joseph Rosales and Robin Lod are the current first-choice midfield pairing in Heath’s 4-2-3-1 formation.

CLOSE ON GARCIA

The Loons have been advancing toward acquiring Mender Garcia, a 23-year-old Colombian attacker, a source said.

Minnesota had moved on from its pursuit of Bordeaux forward Hwang Ui-Jo weeks ago, but other reports surfaced Tuesday that had a Loons’ bid to the French Ligue 2 side pegged at $5 million.

Heath said July 8 that Minnesota’s efforts to bring in the South Korean international were unlikely.

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