Uruguayan teenager Thomas Chacon arrived as a special "young designated player" to a Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport welcome in August 2019.
He left Wednesday after playing just six games in less than two seasons with Minnesota United.
The Loons waived Chacon last week and on Wednesday executed an offseason buyout of his guaranteed contract to give them financial flexibility.
He played two games late in the 2019 season, four more in the COVID-19 shortened 2020 season, limited by his 5-4 size and probably adjusting to a new country at such a young age.
Signed when he was 18, Chacon started two of those six games, didn't score a goal or get an assist and was loaned to a team back home in Uruguay for the 2021 season.
"It's never an easy one," Loons coach Adrian Heath said. "When you bring players into your club, there's no magic formula that you get it right. You never know how people are going to settle. You never know how it's going to be for a young kid at his age as he was at the time. …
"It just never really happened for him. I think he's more comfortable down there."
Heath said the team weighed parting with Chacon and saving on his salary or "do we persevere with him."
"We felt this was the right decision," Heath said. "It's never anything personal. You just hope the decisions you make are the right ones at the particular moment. Over a period of time we'll see if it was the right decision because he's still a young kid and he has got talent. But he didn't seem to settle at our place."
Chacon said farewell and thank you to the franchise and its fans on his social media accounts Wednesday.
"I say goodbye to this club, to this beautiful city," he wrote. "It was not as I imagined, as I dreamed it could be. But I took a lot of learning, colleagues, friends and more."
The Chacon buyout opens an international roster and designated player spot for a Loons team that has star midfielder Emanuel Reynoso and striker Adrien Hunou as its first two of three allowed DPs.
Heath said the team could add as many as three new players in the next few days. He didn't name names, but the Loons have pursued bringing back Paraguayan striker Luis Amarilla and Honduras defensive midfielder Kervin Arriaga for some time.
Three for Danladi
Loons former No. 1 overall draft pick Abu Danladi scored three goals Wednesday in his first competitive action now that he's back after two seasons with Nashville. He did so against a college select 11 team.
"He looked particularly sharp, a couple of really good finishes," Heath said. "Good runs, looked quick. He has come in really good shape."
Starting right back Romain Metanire ran and worked on the side on his way back from what Heath called a badly torn hamstring in a first-round playoff loss at Portland in November.
Heath said Metanire is "progressing nicely" and is hopeful he can join back in with his teammates when they travel to Portland in mid-February, two weeks before the Feb. 26 season opener at Philadelphia.
Until then, 2021 first-round pick Nabi Kibunguchy and D.J. Taylor will get time at Metanire's position.
Reynoso looks good
Reynoso also saw game action Wednesday after he didn't play in an indoor scrimmage in Blaine before the team left for Florida.
"He got some minutes today, made a couple of goals, a couple unbelievable passes," Heath said. "He looks lean and he looks in good condition, so we're pleased."
Hunou, delayed in arriving for camp because of COVID-19, played some too on Wednesday.
Starting right-side attacker Robin Lod has completed his two months-plus military training back home in Finland and now is spending time with his family before he likely rejoins teammates when they return to Minnesota from Florida.
Waiting for Hlongwane
Recently signed young South African forward Bongokuhle Hlongwane had his U.S. immigration interview back home and is waiting for paperwork to clear before he can travel to the United States. Heath said he hopes Hlongwane will arrive before the team returns to Minnesota next week.
The Loons have gone to Orlando for 10 days to get out of subzero temperatures and brought bad weather with them for their first three days.
"Having lived down here a long time, I've never know it this cold and rainy," Heath said. "It's not been the ideal warm weather training we expected. It's nice to be on the grass to be honest, but it's just unusually cold and rainy."