Veteran midfielder and free agent Kevin Molino late Tuesday night posted an online farewell to Minnesota United and its fans after he starred for the club for its first four MLS seasons.
Molino's contract ran out after the 2020 season ended with a 3-2 loss at Seattle in the Western Conference finals last week.
Molino, 30, wrote on his Instagram account: "Goodbye Minnesota. To everyone at Minnesota United … the owners, management, coaches, backroom staff, office staff, the ball boys, the fans and most of all my teammates … from my heart to yours. Thank you for embracing me and showing me all the love and support for the last four years of my life."
Four days after that season-ending loss, Loons coach Adrian Heath said the club offered Molino "the max deal he can get in America" and said, "We're hoping he accepts it and decides to come back and build on what he finished last year."
MLS free agency started Wednesday.
Heath has coached Molino since their USL days together in Orlando in 2011. When Heath signed to become the Loons' first coach in MLS play in 2017, he brought Molino to Minnesota in a big trade just as the team's first training camp opened.
Molino underwent surgery to repair a torn ACL twice, in 2015 with Orlando City and in 2018 with Minnesota United.
He scored a club-high 13 goals this past season and found instant chemistry with new playmaking star Emanuel Reynoso late in the season and all the way to the Western Conference final.
Molino scored two goals in three consecutive games late in the season, starting with a regular-season finale against FC Dallas that earned the Loons a first-round home playoff game and then in their first two playoff games, victories over Colorado and at Sporting Kansas City.
Heath said Molino's decision would affect other decisions made by a team seeking to add three potential starters — one each on the defensive back line, in midfield and at striker.
"We need to keep moving it forward," Heath said last week. "That has to be the mantra if we want to compete for the West final and maybe go further."
Heath said the Loons can maneuver if they choose to add two new high-impact "designated players" alongside their third, Reynoso.
"It's been a journey filled with so much emotion and experiences," Molino wrote in his post. "You showed me how to comeback after being sidelined with injury and how to love the game again. I want to wish this great club all the best!"
He finished his farewell message by referring to a nickname given to him in Orlando because of his flashy wardrobe, "Onto another chapter now. Your favorite Hot Boy."