Minnesota United FC head coach Adrian Heath got his man.
A long-rumored pursuit of former charge Kevin Molino ended Thursday with the midfielder's acquisition from Orlando City SC for $650,000 in allocation money. The sum – $450,000 in General Allocation Money (GAM) and $200,000 in Targeted Allocation Money (TAM) – rivals the largest exchanges in MLS history, notably Eddie Johnson's sale to D.C. United in 2013.
“Where do you start with Kevin [Molino] as a player, he has incredible touch on the ball, can score goals, can create goals, he has great balance, there’s nothing he can’t do with a football,” said Minnesota United head coach Adrian Heath in a statement provided by the team. “In my opinion he’s the best player in his position in the country.”
Molino, 26, reciprocated the admiration shown by Heath, who previously coached him when the two were at Orlando together from 2011 until Heath's departure in 2016.
“I spoke with Adrian and he asked me if I wanted to be a part of Minnesota United and join the team and that was it – I have worked with him for a long time, so it was an easy decision,” Molino said. “I know what Adrian expects from me and I am really excited to join the club and build a relationship with my new teammates, coaches and the fans."
After recovering from a knee injury that sidelined him for most of 2015, Molino posted 11 goals and 8 assists in 30 games for Orlando last season. His relationship with Heath extends to an impressive, two-MVPs-in-three-seasons USL run with Orlando prior to their MLS expansion debut. Orlando's first MLS signing, Molino ranks as City's all-time leader in goals (42) and assists (31), dating back to the franchise's 2011 USL debut. Molino is an experienced international, having earned more than 30 caps for Trinidad & Tobago.
Orlando General Manager Niki Budalic said in a statement that the team offered Molino a new contract, but the player expressed a desire to leave: “We looked at available options to make the best decision for the team and we are pleased with the outcome.”
In addition to the exchange of allocation money, Orlando will retain a percentage of any future transfer fee if Molino is transferred outside of MLS by Minnesota United FC.