BLAINE, Minn. — Minnesota United has sent striker Angelo Rodriguez to Deportivo Cali, a club in his native Colombia, a source said Thursday, Jan. 23.
Details of the transaction are not official, but a report from Colombia said it is a one-year loan with an option to buy.
The Loons signed Rodriguez as the club’s second high-priced Designated Player from Deportes Tolima in Colombia in July 2018 and bought down his $667,000 annual salary to open up a DP spot for attacking midfielder Thomas Chacon last summer.
Rodriguez’s best attribute was physical hold-up play, which is keeping the ball near or in the attacking third, but he never produced the amount of goals expected from the forward spot.
Rodriguez had four goals in 870 minutes across 11 games in 2018 and five goals in 1,751 minutes in 28 games in 2019.
Rodriguez’s pluses and minuses were on display during the MLS Cup first-round playoff loss to the Los Angeles Galaxy in October. He controlled the ball on the edge of the box, then passed it wide to Romain Metanire. Rodriguez ran to the front of the goal to get on the end of Metanire’s cross, but Rodriguez’s header went wide of the goal.
Rodriguez’s golden opportunity would have broken a scoreless tie in the 56th minute. The Loons went on to lose 2-1.
Rodriguez trained with the club in Minnesota on Tuesday and sat out Wednesday’s session with what the club called a back injury as the deal was worked out.
Chacon stands out
Chacon stood out during a five-on-five short-sided scrimmage Thursday. The 19-year-old Uruguayan attacking midfielder rocketed a tight-angle shot past goalkeeper Gregory Ranjitsingh into the top corner of the net. It ricocheted off the goal’s inner framework and echoed in the National Sports Center in Blaine.
Earlier, Chacon also took an entry pass from Wyatt Omsberg and had a cheeky chip past Ranjitsingh and into the net. He also had a long-distance shot go toward the top corner for another nice goal, but goalie Dayne St. Claire made a leaping save to deny him.
“He is the kind of player that you get excited about because he can change the game,” Loons assistant coach Ian Fuller said Thursday. “He will have those flashes where he will pull people out of their seats. Now we have to get that translated into a bigger-sized game.”
United eased the youngster into the fold when he joined the team in August last season. He had two shots, one on goal, in 85 minutes across two MLS games.
Center back Ike Opara returned to training Thursday after being excused for a family matter earlier this week. … The Loons will have a closed scrimmage Friday before heading to Melbourne, Fla., on Sunday for two weeks of training.