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Orlando City Trades Kevin Molino To Minnesota in MLS Record Deal

The Lions sold the Trinidad & Tobago international to Minnesota United for an extraordinary sum.

MLS: Orlando City SC at LA Galaxy Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Orlando City midfielder Kevin Molino has been traded to Minnesota United in one of the largest deals in MLS history. Orlando Sentinel soccer writer Alicia DelGallo broke the news which was later confirmed by the club.

As preseason opened, Molino had been spotted training off to the side this week with several other players in what Jason Kreis labeled an “in-house” issue, and the Trinidad & Tobago international didn’t travel to Jacksonville with the club yesterday for preseason camp. DelGallo also reported that recently acquired goalkeeper Patrick McLain was also be part of the package headed to Minnesota, and the club also confirmed that.

The dollar amount, which, yep, the club confirmed, equals the deal that sent Eddie Johnson to DC United, which was $650,000 in allocation trading hands. Per DelGallo:

Orlando City tried to renegotiate a higher salary with him, according to a club spokesman, but he turned all offers down and asked to be traded.

DelGallo also spoke to Lions GM Niki Budalic, who said the club intended to retain the attacking midfielder, but the player rejected all offers.

“Nothing has changed, we always wanted to keep Kevin,” Budalic told the Orlando Sentinel. “We made every attempt to resolve the situation, unfortunately he had made his opinion that he wanted a new challenge and [to] move on, and once he did that we felt we couldn't convince him to stay. It was best to make the decision that was best for the club, and we took a lot of factors into account.

“The most important thing is we're not prepared to keep people here who aren’t happy. We want people here who are committed to helping this team win, and we didn't feel that was the case with Kevin.”

Importantly, Orlando City will retain a percentage of any transfer should Minnesota United sell Molino to a team outside of Major League Soccer.

The two-time USL MVP with Orlando City before the club’s jump to Major League Soccer, Molino went goalless in eight games for the Lions in 2015 before suffering a torn ACL in a mid-season friendly match in early May. The Original returned in 2016 to the tune of an MLS Comeback Player of the Year Award-finalist season, notching 11 goals and eight assists in 30 appearances.

Molino joined former Orlando City head coach Adrian Heath in the Sunshine State in 2011 and helped lead the Lions to two USL Championships and three regular season titles, including his record-setting year in 2014, when he broke Dom Dwyer’s league goal-scoring record, with 20. His USL accomplishments came while the club fended off transfer offers from MLS clubs. Now, he will reunite with Heath in Minnesota.

With Molino unhappy with his contract situation, the club reportedly recently turned down an offer in the neighborhood of $500,000 from expansion Minnesota for the midfielder. It appears the Loons upped their offer.