Father and son are about to be reunited.
In a half-day trade window Sunday morning, Minnesota United made a deal with fellow 2017 expansion team Atlanta United for midfielder Harrison Heath, son of Loons coach Adrian Heath. All for the low, low price of a 2019 fourth-round draft pick.
The 21-year-old (5-11, 160 pounds) managed only one minute of playing time with Atlanta this season and added a handful of appearances with United Soccer League side Sacramento Republic. Prior to that, he spent two seasons with Orlando City under his dad and amassed six games with five starts.
Few things about Harrison Heath. He functions as a homegrown player, meaning he’ll take up residence on the Loons’ reserve roster. He also has a green card, despite being a U.K. native, so he won’t count as an international. Last season with Atlanta, he made $66,150, according to the MLS Players Union. (I also believe he and midfielder Kevin Molino are good friends after spending years together with Orlando. So that's something.) (I also randomly came across this tweet from him and just ... he is his father's son.)
“We’re a pretty tight group, and I have a really good relationship with him,” Adrian Heath said of his son back on Oct. 5. “I’m hopeful that next year, he can kick on even more and get himself in and around the first team and get more games because I think he has the ability to do it.”
And thus begins a busy offseason. Later Sunday, teams released their protected lists for the expansion draft, which takes place 1 p.m. Tuesday. Teams can protect 11 players, with Generation Adidas players (such as forward Abu Danladi) and off-budget homegrown players (such as midfielder Collin Martin and Heath) being exempt. New club LAFC can then pick up to five players from the pool, max one per team.
Here is who the Loons left up for grabs: Bernardo Anor, Justin Davis, Thomas de Villardi, Vadim Demidov, Joe Greenspan, Miguel Ibarra, Ish Jome, Alex Kapp, Jose Leiton, Patrick McLain, Sam Nicholson, Rasmus Schuller, Jermaine Taylor, Johan Venegas, Kevin Venegas and Collen Warner.
The interesting names on there are Ibarra, Nicholson, Schuller and Johan Venegas. (That means the Loons protected Bobby Shuttleworth, Jerome Thiesson, Michael Boxall, Brent Kallman, Francisco Calvo, Marc Burch, Ibson, Sam Cronin, Kevin Molino, Ethan Finlay and Christian Ramirez.)
The league also released a complete list of free agents later Sunday as well, players who are at least 28 years old with at least eight years in the league and are out of contract or had their contract options declined. Free agency then officially begins 2 p.m. Tuesday.
Also this week, the waiver draft at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday (where Harrison Heath would have likely been available, if the Loons hadn’t traded for him) and the first stage of the re-entry draft at 2:30 p.m. Friday. Stage two is at 1 p.m. Dec. 21.
All this after the 2017 season literally just ended Saturday with Toronto FC winning the Cup. I believe that makes two out of my five predictions about this season true. I’ll take it.
MLS also recently announced some changes to targeted allocation money, or TAM, for the next two seasons. Essentially, teams can spend an extra $2.8 million if they fund it themselves.