The last remaining Minnesota United player on the field for the club’s first game in MLS has said so long.
Midfielder Kevin Molino, who is out of contract after a resurgent year with the Loons, made an overnight post Wednesday on Instagram.
“Goodbye Minnesota. To everyone with Minnesota United … the owners, management, coaches, backroom staff, office staff, the ball boys, the fans and most of all my teammates… from my heart to yours Thank You for embracing me and showing me all the love and support for the last four years of my life.
“It’s been a journey filled with so much emotion and experiences. You showed me how to come back from being sidelined with injury and how to love the game again. I want to wish this great club all the best!
“On to another chapter now. Your favorite Hot Boy.”
The Loons made Molino’s new deal its first offseason priority, with manager Adrian Heath saying last week the club offered Molino the best contract it could. Heath said the club has spoken consistently with his representatives, and during the season, he felt they were very close to a new deal.
“I get it if he wants to see what’s out there; I understand,” Heath said Friday. “But we are hoping that he accepts it and decides to come back.”
One source told the Pioneer Press the club offered Molino the max amount it could under MLS’ free agency rules, but that is not into the Targeted Allocation Money category, which reaches north of $1 million.
Now without Molino, who made $546,000 in 2019, United has to go down another path. Molino, 30, was the Loons’ hottest goal-scorer last season and developed great chemistry with playmaker Emanuel Reynoso.
The Trinidad native scored 13 goals during the 2020 season, including four in the run to the Western Conference final. That production outpaced the 12 total goals he had with the club from 2017-19, which included two seasons interrupted by ACL and meniscus tears.
Heath addressed the option of what Molino’s exit would trigger. “Obviously we are in a situation where Kevin’s situation could spark an awful lot of other things to go down,” Heath said before Molino’s decision. “If Kevin were to leave, then we know we would have to sort of fill, plug that hole in, and that dictates what we are looking for and what we’ve got to spend.”
Heath expressed a desire to have Molino’s situation sorted soon because that would give the club a better idea of its priorities need to be for 2021.
Molino played 72 MLS games for United, finishing with 25 goals and 19 assists. He was acquired in a then-MLS-record trade from Orlando City before the 2017 season and played in the club’s inaugural game at Portland that March.