Second-year franchise Minnesota United FC is off to a strong start in 2018, losing by a goal in San Jose in the opener and winning at Orlando City SC last weekend.
But if United is to continue the strong start, it will have to do so without perhaps its best player thus far in 2018.
The club announced Monday that midfielder Kevin Molino will miss the remainder of the season after suffering a torn ACL in his left knee during the victory Saturday.
He missed all but seven games in 2015 because of a torn ACL in his right knee. Coincidentally, that came while he was a member of Orlando City.
The 27-year-old is among the league’s top scorers in the early going with two goals and an assist in 140 minutes. The game Saturday was his first in Orlando since his trade to Minnesota before the 2017 season.
Minnesota manager Adrian Heath, who signed Molino out of Trinidad and Tobago while with Orlando City back in 2011, told mlssoccer.com his primary concern is for the well-being of the player with whom he has grown so close.
“My relationship with Kevin goes back a long way, I’ve always been very close with him, I’ve always had a great belief in his ability as a player,” Heath said. “I know how devastating this will be for him. ... The fact that he is going to miss the season is a huge blow for everybody, but especially the kid. The one thing about Kev is he lives for playing football, he loves playing football, he’ll play every day, all day. We had a really good chat in the offseason about how he had to be a leader for the group and he had a great start to the season, so it’s a huge blow for everybody concerned.”
But Heath also addressed how the team will make up for the loss on the field, saying he will explore changing formations and moving players to new positions.
And while did not name any names, Heath did tell Paul Tenorio of mlssoccer.com that the club is hoping to bring in “a couple players.”
Minnesota hosts Chicago in its home opener on Saturday at 2 p.m. ET.
—Field Level Media