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Minnesota United buys out forward Ángelo Rodríguez ahead of Deportivo Cali move

The buyout clears Rodríguez’s salary from under Minnesota’s salary cap.

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Minnesota United FC exercised an offseason buyout to part ways with forward Ángelo Rodríguez ahead of the player’s move to Colombian first-division side Deportivo Cali. The 30-year-old San Andrés, Colombia native made 43 appearances for the Loons after joining in July of 2018.

Deportivo Cali’s official Twitter account said club president Marco Caicedo formalized Rodríguez’s arrival Thursday.

Rodríguez earned $667,187 in 2019, according to the most recent numbers released by the MLS Players Association. In buying out the remainder of Rodríguez’s contract during the offseason, Minnesota cleared the forward’s wages from under its salary cap for the 2020 season.

Minnesota United acquired Rodriguez from Deportes Tolima midway through the 2018 season. His arrival in the Land of 10,000 Lakes immediately preceded the trade of longtime fan favorite Christian Ramirez to LAFC that August, with the Loons receiving around a million dollars in allocation money for the latter.

Rodriguez was the team’s second-ever designated player at the time, but the club bought down his salary with allocation money during the 2019 season to facilitate the acquisition of another DP, attacking midfielder Thomás Chacón.

In 2018, the Colombian contributed four goals and an assist in 870 minutes, but his production declined during his first full season with the Loons. Aside from four goals and three assists in U.S. Open Cup play — which included a hat trick at Allianz Field against USL Championship side New Mexico United — Rodríguez recorded just five goals and a pair of assists in over 1,800 MLS minutes last year.

The emergence of Mason Toye last year resulted in six goals and three assists from the former first-round SuperDraft pick, who played just 820 minutes. Adding muscle to a 6-foot-3 frame the prior offseason, Toye turned in impressive performances during his second professional season, including a first-half brace at Banc of California Stadium that carried the Loons to a 2-0 victory and  handed LAFC its first home loss of 2019.

Toye’s development, Minnesota’s pursuit of Paraguayan forward Luis Amarilla and Rodríguez’s salary relative to his recent production combined to exclude Rodriguez from the Loons’ plans for 2020.

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this report incorrectly stated that Ángelo Rodríguez was set to join Deportivo Cali on loan.

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