Minnesota United and a few of the team’s current players could face hard budget-related decisions going into the 2022 season. At the top of the list is Designated Player Jan Gregus.

The 30-year-old Slovakian central midfielder nears the end of contract he signed before the 2019 season. While the club holds an option on Gregus for next season, picking that up comes with a substantial salary raise above his guaranteed compensation of $883,500 this season.

With a contract extension signed for fellow central midfielder Hassani Dotson in June, along with other deals for players, the club is feeling numbers tighten around a MLS salary budget that will be just north of $5.2 million next season, sources told the Pioneer Press.

Dotson’s new contract takes him off the bargain-basement rate he earned since he was drafted in 2019 into the ballpark of $400,000 per year next season. The Washington state native’s new three-year deal starts in 2022, with an option year for 2025.

Since Franco Fragapane’s transfer from Talleres in Argentina in June, Dotson has been able to move into his best position in central midfield. He has paired with holding midfielder Wil Trapp in five of the past six games, including the 1-0 victory over first-place Seattle on Sunday.

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“I think they have been excellent,” manager Adrian Heath said of Trapp and Dotson. “I don’t think it’s a coincidence they have been involved most of the time we’ve picked up points. I thought they were both excellent (Sunday).”

Gregus doesn’t have a goal or assist in 595 minutes across nine of the 13 MLS games this season. Two of those games have been substitute appearances and he missed some time while on national-team duty with Slovakia in the European Championships.

In 2019, Gregus had one goal and 11 assists in 2,677 minutes across 30 games. In the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, he had one goal and six assists in 1,599 minutes.

While Gregus has been on the outside looking in at the first team in recent weeks, he continues to show professional qualities. On Tuesday, he stayed roughly 30 minutes after the training session ended to put in extra work with rookie winger Justin McMaster and homegrown goalkeeper Fred Emmings. Then as he walked off the field in Blaine, Gregus was willing to fulfill a community-relations request from the club.

Gregus’ name might come up in a potential trade discussions before the secondary transfer window closes on Aug. 5. If the club ends up moving on from Gregus at some point, it would free up one of the three DP slots for another player.

Briefly

Right back Romain Metanire has returned from an elongated trip to France, where he obtained his U.S. green card. The club said he fulfilled the training sessions sent to the 2019 MLS all-star when he was abroad. Metanire will build up toward a possible return against Portland Timbers on Saturday night at Allianz Field. … Center back Michael Boxall has increased his rehab work from his thigh/groin injury suffered July 3. It was mostly straight-line movements, and the club will monitor how he responds to the added effort as the week progresses. … MNUFC will welcome new Gophers women’s soccer coach Erin Chastain to Allianz Field for the Loons game against Houston on Aug. 7.