MN United

Why the Loons Offloaded Mason Toye

Photo Credit: Thomas Shea (USA Today Sports)

Minnesota United FC announced Thursday afternoon that they transferred U.S U-23 striker Mason Toye to the Montreal Impact in exchange for 600k in General Allocation Money along with a 2021 second-round Superdraft pick and a future sell-on percentage.

Toye, who was in his third year as a Loon, burst onto the scene in the summer of 2019 for the Loons where he slotted six goals in the back of the net while adding three assists in the process. His energetic spark died out quickly, though, as Toye ended his season scoreless over the final seven matches of competition.

Following the departures of Darwin Quintero and Angelo Rodriguez at the end of 2019, the Loons brought in Luis Amarilla, who was to compete with Toye for the starting job. Ultimately, Amarilla won. The Loons then brought in striker Aaron Schoenfeld to be another option up top — to begin with, he jumped ahead of Toye on the pecking order, too. Following mid-summer injuries to Schoenfeld and Amarilla, Toye finally was given a chance to start up top over a string of games in August.

It didn’t go Toye’s way. He scored once in five starts, which ultimately led head coach Adrian Heath and the Loons front office to look elsewhere for goal production up front. Their solution? MLS veteran Kei Kamara. They brought in Kamara, 36, from the Colorado Rapids to lead the front line.

However, for Toye, that seemed to be the final straw. Heath told media Thursday afternoon that Toye had asked for a move away in search of a starting role in the league. Ultimately, the Impact made the best offer and Toye got his wish, first-team starting football and the opportunity to play under his childhood idol, Thierry Henry.

“Mason has been a bit frustrated of late, obviously with the signing of Kei,” Heath said to media via a zoom call Thursday. “He came in and as most strikers should think, he thinks he should be the No. 1 starter forward for us. We have a slight difference of opinion on that and Mason expressed the desire he’d like to take the opportunity if he could go somewhere and hopefully be their No. 1 striker.”

Heath mentioned that there was “quite a lot of interest” in Toye’s availability, eventually noting that Montreal made “the best deal by far.”

“He has two years left on his contract, I think it’s no secret that he wants to go abroad at the end of that,” Heath said. “If we couldn’t guarantee him the starting No. 9 position, we had to weigh all that up. I do wish him all the best. He wants to do well, he works so hard.”

Toye ends his Minnesota United career with 10 goals and two assists over 2.5 seasons that saw him land 1,893 minutes on the pitch for the Loons.

“We do what we think is the right decision for the club moving forward and only time will tell,” Heath said. “As with all strikers, you always leave yourself open to something coming back and biting you. You make decisions for the right reasons at that particular moment in time and at this time, we feel like it’s a good fee for a young guy who is making his way in the game.”

Toye, who makes the jump across the border, will have to quarantine once arriving in Montreal before he will be available for the Impact.

BRIEFLY

In addition to the offloading of Toye, Heath mentioned that Kevin Molino should be available for the Loons Saturday night at Allianz Field. Both Ozzie Alonso and Ethan Finlay aren’t ready for match-time, but they’ve returned to training. There’s been a hiccup with Amarilla, however, with Heath noting that surgery could possibly be in the cards for the young Paraguayan. The team is still awaiting news on his status.

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