Minnesota United have landed forward Luis Amarilla on loan. The striker can help the Loons immensely in 2020 as the solution to their goalscoring problems.
The 24-year-old forward is coming off a terrific season on loan at Club Deportivo Universidad Catolica in Ecuador’s Serie A where he scored 16 goals in 22 appearances. In the playoffs, he scored three goals in two appearances. He is prolific, when given the chance — to date, Amarilla has only made 12 appearances for Velez Sarsfield and has not been a regular feature for the Argentinian club.
Amarilla was active on Paraguay’s U-20 team during his youth years, scoring one goal in five appearances. He has yet to make an appearance for the senior national team.
At 24, he still has room for growth in his career, which is important for Minnesota United, who cleverly included an option-to-buy clause in the deal. Should Amarilla shine, which is not entirely out of the question, they already have an agreed fee to secure him permanently.
There are a lot of positives to this signing for Minnesota. Amarilla had a successful season in Ecuador last year and showed he is capable of scoring goals on a consistent basis. Based on his highlights, he can find other ways to score and not just be a poacher in front of goal.
But perhaps most pertinently, Minnesota require serious offensive help. With the departure of Darwin Quintero, the Loons lost their leading goalscorer in 2019. Quintero led the way with 10 goals and was the only player to reach double-digit goals on the season.
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Additionally, DP forward Angelo Rodriguez departed the club after he netted just five goals during the season and was a wild disappointment as a big-money acquisition. Amarilla will act as a replacement to help alleviate the loss of these two players.
Mason Toye is still at the club and is slowly developing into a capable MLS center-forward, but at just 22, he is wildly inconsistent and is not the most reliable option to use throughout an entire campaign. Combining Toye with Amarilla, then, makes a lot of sense for a team that will be built on an excellent defensive and central midfield foundation and only needs an offensive spark here and there to find success.
And head coach Adrian Heath was acutely aware of the goalscoring need at the club and the solution that Amarilla provides:
"“One of the things we thought we had to address moving into the season was finishing a higher proportion of the chances we create. We think Luis will help us in that category <…> To do that, you need somebody who’s a fox-in-the-box, a guy who can finish it when it comes across the face of goal, and he’s got really good movement. He’s a good age, 24, can link up with people, can play into midfield, but most importantly, he gets all types of goals. Off the goalkeeper, five yards out, overhead kicks, headers, benders, you name it”"
Overall, Amarilla addressed a need that Minnesota had entering the offseason. They required a forward who has proved he can score goals and be relied on to produce. The Paraguayan checks all of those boxes, and he might just bring the Loons back to the playoffs once more.