A small group of players ran continuous laps around the field while the rest scrimmaged at Sylvan Lake Park in Sanford Monday, Orlando City’s first day of preseason training.
Carlos Rivas, Cristian Higuita and newly-signed Donny Toia were among those running instead of training, but the player who drew the most attention was Kevin Molino.
Molino made headlines earlier this month for receiving an offer from MLS expansion side Minnesota United FC, led by former Orlando City coach Adrian Heath, that far exceeded his 2016 salary of $121,000. The Goal.com report also said Molino was not happy in his current situation.
Minnesota isn’t the only one interested in the Trinidad and Tobago midfielder, though. Multiple teams have approached Molino, recently and in the past, according to sources with direct knowledge of the situation.
“We aren’t actively looking to trade him,” Orlando City general manager Niki Budalic said when news of Minnesota’s interest first broke earlier this month.
That still is true, but the Orlando Sentinel confirmed Molino is unhappy and the Lions are hoping things turn around because he is an integral part of their plan for 2017.
Molino was second on the team in goals (11) and assists (8) last season. He was 13th in salary.
A raise may not be possible with Orlando City is operating under a tight salary cap, but the club is making it clear it values Molino.
And so his segregation from the team on the first day of training raised questions. When asked why the four players ran laps, Lions coach Jason Kreis told reporters, “That’s a bit of an in-house matter that we prefer not to speak about.”
The Orlando Sentinel later confirmed Molino did not train because he didn’t complete his concussion test during physical exams during the weekend.
Other players were missing from training altogether, including Kaká, David Mateos, Tommy Redding and incoming midfielder Will Johnson, among others.
Redding and Johnson are on their way back from national team duty with the U.S. U-20s and Canada, respectively, and Kreis said others still were undergoing physicals. The full team will come together as the week wears on.