The last time the New York Red Bulls loaned a forward out to a team that wasn't its own reserve side, it didn't work out so well. Anatole Abang has been loaned out twice inside the last year and both stints ended prematurely. And Abang hasn't been seen at RBNY since he headed off to Denmark last summer for the first of those ill-fated loan spells.
We can hope things work out differently for Brandon Allen, the latest young forward to be loaned out by RBNY. Allen's loan to Minnesota was tipped by well-sourced reporters at the beginning of July, but it took a couple of weeks for the reports to become reality. On July 15, the Red Bulls formally announced the transfer: Brandon Allen will be on loan with Minnesota United until the end of the 2017 season.
Allen has featured (and scored) regularly for New York Red Bulls II over the last season and a half, so Minnesota doubtless isn't short of tape and scouting reports on its new recruit. Still, there is no substitute for watching a player up close alongside his teammates, and Loons head coach Adrian Heath wasted no time in getting Allen on the field.
It would seem the loan was timed in order to allow Allen to participate in Minnesota's mid-season friendly against Mexican outfit Atlas FC. He was in the starting lineup for the game and played 71 minutes before being subbed out for Christian Ramirez - the man whose starting spot Allen will be tracking while with the Loons.
The teams traded first-half goals and the match ended 1-1.
Allen didn't score, but he told mnufc.com he was happy enough with his first outing in a Minnesota shirt:
It was a quick turnaround for me. I flew in [Friday] and got in around like seven o’clock. And [Heath] actually just told me as I got here that I was starting. I came out, I felt good. But hopefully next game I can find the back of the net and really contribute to this team.
Adrian Heath offered a calm assessment of his new signing:
You can tell he's big and he's aggressive and you know he had half a chance in the first half and...this level it's a step up from what he's been playing. So he probably felt it a little bit. He only arrived - he doesn't know anybody's name - he only arrived late last night, so it was tough for him. But he'll be better for the hour he was on as well - and he gives us a little bit of depth.
Minnesota returns to competitive play on July 19 with a home game against Houston Dynamo in MLS.