ST. PAUL, Minn. — A Minnesota United FC spokesperson has confirmed to Pro Soccer USA that the Loons are interested in bringing Paraguayan forward Luis Amarilla to the club.
The team declined to offer any comment on Amarilla’s expected arrival stateside, but multiple reports from South America suggest a deal could be conlculded this week.
Argentinian radio journalist Agustin Sileo tweeted on Saturday that Amarilla is expected to join Minnesota United on a season-long loan, and Amarilla recently told Radio Cardinal in his native Paraguay that he has two years remaining on his current deal with first-division Argentinian club Vélez Sarsfield.
Amarilla is coming off a breakout in his age 23 season. After struggling to find time for Los Fortineros in 2017 and 2018, Amarilla was loaned to Universidad Católica in the comparatively-easier Chilean Primera División.
Across all competitions, the six-foot forward tallied 21 goals and eight assists in 41 appearances for Los Cruzados, recording a goal or an assist every 95 minutes over that period.
Amarilla’s 2019 included five appearances in the Copa Sudamericana — the second-most prestigious club competition in South America behind the Copa Libertadores — managing one goal and one assist.
Amarilla’s 19 league goals from 24 appearances led the Ecuadorian first division in 2019.
The 24-year-old has yet to be capped for Paraguay’s senior national team, but he represented his country at the 2015 South American U-20 Championship, coming off the bench in the last three of his five appearances and scoring in the second half in a 1-1 draw with Peru.
If Amarilla’s recent form translates to MLS, it would be a boon for the Loons. Winger Ethan Finlay (seven league goals in 2019) is the team’s leading returning scorer.
Among Amarilla’s potential competition at forward, the 29-year-old Angelo Rodríguez managed only five league goals from open play in 1,818 minutes last season, with the now-21-year-old Mason Toye notching six in just 843 minutes. Toye’s 2019 showed plenty of promise, but a team with Minnesota’s ambition of bettering last season’s first-round playoff exit can hardly be faulted for trying to add firepower up top.