Minnesota United moved on Thursday without traded defender Chase Gasper, who the day before approved a deal that sent him to the L.A. Galaxy.
Gasper called it a "new beginning" after the two teams struck an agreement that had been in discussion for a year.
The Loons will receive at least $450,000 in general allocation money. Gasper gets a new team and a fresh start three weeks after he voluntarily completed a month's stay in a California addiction treatment center.
Loons coach Adrian Heath after Thursday's training noted his club signed Gasper last September to a new four-year contract that started this season, and never intended to trade him until the Galaxy and other teams kept calling — and until Gasper agreed to a fresh start elsewhere.
"Our intentions were very clear," Heath said. "But in light of what's gone on recently, we thought it was the right thing to do because he wanted to have a brand new start — and I get that. He's going to a great club so he goes with our blessing. ... It was his decision."
Heath called the money — which could reach $750,000 if Gasper reaches certain performance metrics — "a substantial amount" and "good value" for a player drafted 15th overall in 2019.
"It's not about the money because we can cope with or without the money," Heath said. "It's about looking after the kid. As soon as he expressed the fact it would be good for him, we reluctantly agreed to it. ... I don't want to keep people who would rather be elsewhere. Chase has been brilliant for us. He's a great kid."
Galaxy coach Greg Vanney called Gasper, 26, "an experienced and highly regarded left back in our league" who will add "character, quality and a competitive spirit to our group."
The Loons signed MLS veteran left back Kemar Lawrence in March for depth and competition at a position where Gasper started his first three pro seasons.
Lawrence has started four of the six games he has played with the Loons. Gasper has been out all season because of a preseason concussion and his rehab treatment.
Heath said Wednesday's trade had nothing to do with Gasper's rehab or personal matters and called Lawrence's acquisition from Toronto FC for a pittance a separate matter as well.
"We've always said we needed competition for that place," Heath said. "It has been pretty much Chase's since he got drafted. We felt we needed somebody to challenge there and more importantly, somebody for the squad if Chase gets injured. We try to have two people for every position and that's why we have Kemar."
Now Lawrence continues as the starting left back while friend and fellow Jamaican Oniel Fisher starts at right back until injured Romain Metanire returns from a hamstring injury sustained in last season's playoffs.
"We're delighted we got him," Heath said about Lawrence. "Obviously, the signing now in light of what's happened with Chase proves it was a good decision from us in the beginning."