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Five takeaways from Minnesota United’s salary figures for 2022

Hunou is the 17th-highest paid player in MLS, according to MLS Players Association figures shared Tuesday

MLS: Minnesota United FC at Seattle Sounders FC
Seattle Sounders FC midfielder Albert Rusnaak (11) dribbles ahead of Minnesota United FC midfielder Adrien Hunou (23) during the second half Sunday, May 15, 2022, at Lumen Field in Seattle.
Joe Nicholson / USA Today Sports
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Minnesota United forward Adrien Hunou is the 17th-highest paid player in MLS, according to MLS Players Association figures shared Tuesday. The 28-year-old Frenchman’s guaranteed compensation for 2022 is listed at $2.68 million, up roughly $100,000 from last year when he joined from Ligue 1 club Rennes in France.

Along with a transfer fee of more than $3 million, Minnesota’s return does not match that investment.

Hunou has zero goals and zero assists in 85 minutes across six of the 11 MLS games this season. He has one goal and one assist in two U.S. Open Cup games. He’s healthy but has found it hard to crack into manager Adrian Heath’s rotation, much less the starting XI.

After arriving midseason 2021, Hunou scored seven goals in 1,723 minutes, but his total was more than three goals under his expected goals stat. That made him one of the biggest under-performers in the league last season.

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Caution on Amarilla

The Loons’ fourth-highest paid player is also struggling to provide dividends. Luis Amarilla’s salary is $785,000 — on top of a transfer fee of roughly $1.4 million to Argentine club Velez Sarsfield— and the forward has two goals and no assists in 682 minutes across 10 games.

Amarilla returned from a one-game absence due to COVID-19 to sub on in the 3-1 loss to Seattle. He hasn’t gotten on the score sheet in seven straight games.

But Amarilla’s salary is well within reach to be bought down in order for him to come off one of the three Designated Player spots. The Loons’ No. 2 and 3 most-expensive players are Emanuel Reynoso ($1.06 million) and Robin Lod ($952,000).

Big on Bongi

MNUFC spent a $500,000 transfer fee to South African Maritzburg United for Bongi Hlongwane and are paying him $580,000 this season, MLSPA numbers show. That is the second-most expensive new player behind Amarilla.

Hlongwane, 21, has no goals and two assists in 379 minutes in all 11 games this season. He nearly scored on a header vs. Seattle.

2019 class cashes in

The three members of the 2019 draft class each received paydays coming into this season: midfielder Hassani Dotson, a $400,000 raise to $482,000; defender Chase Gasper, up $320,000 to $400,000; and goalkeeper Dayne St. Clair, a $222,000 increase to $321,000.

Dotson suffered a season-ending knee injury in late April; the Loons traded Gasper to L.A. Galaxy in May; and St. Clair has been one of the best goalkeepers in the league across the last nine games.

With Tyler Miller ($445,000) and Eric Dick ($84,000), MNUFC has $850,000 tied up in goalkeepers. That’s 17 percent of the 2022 salary budget of $4.9 million, which excludes DPs (Hunou, Reynoso and Amarilla).

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While Gasper is now off the books, Kemar Lawrence ($482,000) is on the budget, but his previous club, Toronto FC, is picking up a portion of that salary.

Honduran bargains

Central midfielders Kervin Arriaga ($103,000) and Joseph Rosales ($65,000) are cheap, considering their contributions and future upside. Loons will need to exercise a purchase option to permanently bring in Rosales at the end of the season; he is currently on loan from Independiente in Panama.

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Related Topics: MINNESOTA UNITED FCSOCCER
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