Minnesota United announced that it has acquired midfielder Kevin Molino and goalkeeper Patrick McLain from Orlando City SC in a trade for $450,000 General Allocation Money and $200,000 Targeted Allocation Money.
Molino was among Orlando’s biggest offensive threats, while McLain is a goalkeeper with an extensive USL and MLS resume.
“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."
Molino was a huge part of Orlando’s offense, and was the first Major League Soccer signing in their club history. He is a strong player on the wing that can dribble through defenders and create opportunities in front of goal.
“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 my opinion he’s the best player in his position in the country.”
The Trinidad and Tobago international has worked closely with Minnesota Head Coach Adrian Heath during his career, having played under the Loons’ manager from 2011 through 2016 in Orlando. He has been a mainstay with his national team since 2010, with 35 caps and 16 goals, including two hat-tricks at the international level.
“I have worked with him for five years there’s nothing I don’t know about him as a player," Heath said. "We are really excited and I know [Sporting Director] Manny Lagos has worked really hard to get this over the line for us, we are all delighted.".
Molino began his career in the TT Pro League with San Juan Jabloteh and Ma Pau SC before coming stateside to join Orlando in USL. He mainly played in support, setting up his teammates with assists rather than going to goal himself. In 2014, the club’s final USL season, Molino went on a tear, scoring a league record 20 goals in the regular season to lead the club to its third Commissioner’s Cup in four years.
His transition to MLS was virtually seamless, and looked to continue his USL form in America’s top flight league. However, he suffered a torn Anterior Crucial Ligament during a friendly early in the year, forcing him to miss the remainder of the 2015 season. Molino returned in 2016 and took the league by storm. He was one of the club’s top producers last year with 11 goals and eight assists, tying him with Kaka for most points on the team.
"I will bring a lot of personality, and I want to share that in the locker and on the field with my teammates and the fans in the stands," Molino said. "I want to help this team reach the limit.”
McLain has been a bit of a journeyman in his career, getting a majority of his playing time in USL. The Eau Claire native played his college soccer with Cal Poly, where he earned all-conference honors and set a school record with his .835 save percentage. While in college he played for the Portland Timbers U-23 team and Orange County Blue Star, where he played with current Loons’ teammates Christian Ramirez, Miguel Ibarra and Kevin Venegas.
He was signed by Chivas USA in 2012 and spent two seasons with the club. During his tenure, he spent a brief period on loan with Orange County Blues and eventually joined the club full time in 2014. McLain then signed with Sacramento Republic, and led the club to a second-consecutive playoff appearance.
The goalkeeper impressed the staff in Chicago, who brought him in last season to backup U.S. international Sean Johnson and Matt Lampson. Following the 2016 season, McLain was picked up by Orlando in the 2016 Re-Entry Draft.
Both players will join Minnesota at preseason training camp in Arizona.
Come see the culmination of the preseason trip at Minnesota United’s home opener March 12, against Atlanta United FC. You can purchase a ticket to this first ever MLS match as part of the MNUFC pom hat + ticket deal here. Season tickets and your place in the Itasca Society are available now at MNUFC.COM and single match tickets are available Feb. 9.