Minnesota United left 2017 first overall draft pick Abu Danladi available in last fall’s MLS expansion draft, traded away 2018 seventh overall pick Mason Toye to Montreal on Thursday and has loaned 2020 pick Noah Billingsley to Las Vegas in USL Championship.
But its 2019 draft …
“They’ve exceeded every bit of expectation,” coach Adrian Heath said.
First-round pick Chase Gasper, selected 15th overall out of Maryland, has become a fixture at left back. He has started 27 of 29 games in his career. Second-round pick Hassani Dotson, taken 31st overall out of Oregon State, is dependable as sub or starter, in the midfield or if needed on the back line and has become known for his “bangers,” powerful strikes from distance that resulted in three goals with his dominant right foot last season and even one with his left this season against FC Dallas.
A pick for the future with the seventh overall choice, former Maryland goalkeeper Dayne St. Clair is the team’s starter in only his second season because starter Tyler Miller is out for the season.
“We drafted them because we were really high on them,” said Heath, whose team plays FC Cincinnati on Saturday at Allianz Field. “They’re all going to make a career in this country and who knows, maybe elsewhere. They’ve all done fantastic, not only on the field but off the field. Three great kids. We’re delighted with the three of them.”
Dotson has gone to camp with the U.S. Under-23 national team aimed at next summer’s Olympics. Gasper played his first game with the U.S. men’s national team last February
“That was a particularly good day for the club,” Heath said. “But more importantly, we picked good people as well.”
More help wanted
The Loons added Emanuel Reynoso, Bakaye Dibassy and now Kei Kamara during this current MLS transfer window and still have nearly a month to “bring one or maybe a couple other bodies to help the group we have” by Oct. 29, Heath said.
“As long as there’s time, you always think about it,” Heath said. “If we had everybody fit and healthy, I don’t think we would be looking. But you never know in this game. Certain teams may be more ready to change things and sometimes things come your way. There’s still time to go within this transfer window.”
Just getting started?
The Loons on Thursday traded away 21-year-old striker Toye and kept recently acquired 36-year-old Kamara, whose contract expires at season’s end.
Kamara said he said four more years when he turned 36 last month and added the Loons might like to see him here longer than even that.
“We spoke about that,” Heath said about Kamara’s future beyond 2020. “We’ll see at the end of the season. That was the plan coming in. We took him to the end of the season. He has looked really lively in training, and the more he plays, the fitter he’s becoming. We’re starting to get a better understanding with the people around him. It’s probably the sharpest he’s looked in these last couple days. We’re hoping we can take that into the game into the weekend.”