Loons goalkeeper Tyler Miller moves to D.C. United in free agency

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			Loons goalkeeper Tyler Miller moves to D.C. United in free agency
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Minnesota United wasn’t able to take advantage of a surplus.

The Loons had two starting-caliber MLS goalies in 2022 — Dayne St. Clair and Tyler Miller — and the pair jockeyed for position to start the season, with the backup headed to the trading block.

Miller started the opening two games but was forced to step aside due to illness in the season’s third match; St. Clair assumed the starting role, never looked back and was named an MLS All-Star.

But MNUFC did not trade Miller at the end of the summer transfer window, and after the season, MNUFC did not pick up Miller’s contact option for 2023 but said it was negotiating with him for a new contract. Miller’s salary number, which had been $445,938 in 2022, was a reason why they didn’t pick up his option for next season and were looking to bring him back at a lower cost.

Now Miller has signed as a free agent with D.C. United and will become that team’s starting goalkeeper, the Eastern Conference club announced Wednesday. Miller has a two-year deal through 2024. Salary terms were not shared.

“We are getting a proven MLS goalkeeper who has seven years of experience in this league,” D.C. United President of Soccer Operations Dave Kasper said in a statement. “He’s a great shot-stopper and leader who has the ability to play with his feet out of the back. We are excited to add Tyler to our roster ahead of 2023 and add an important piece to our goalkeeping core.”

Loons leaders said they were looking for a fair return in a trade of Miller and didn’t feel like they were receiving one during the 2022 season. A source told the Pioneer Press on Wednesday that MNUFC received “zero” offers for Miller during last season.

With St. Clair entering the second of three-year contract and a guaranteed compensation of $321,875 in 2022, that cost plus Miller’s was a combined cost considered too rich at one position for MNUFC.

Miller, who will turn 30 in March, made 30 starts in 2021 to help lead the Loons to the MLS Cup Playoffs. He tied a club record with 11 clean sheets and allowed 1.13 goals per 90 minutes that season.

Before the 2020 season, Miller was acquired in a trade from Los Angeles FC, with Minnesota giving up $150,000 in General Allocation Money (GAM) in 2020 and $50,000 in Targeted Allocation Money (TAM) in 2021.

Miller started the first five games of the 2020 season before he had season-ending surgeries on both hips. Over his three seasons in Minnesota, Miler gave up 43 goals in 38 regular-season appearances.

On Monday, the Loons announced goalkeeper Eric Dick was re-signed for the 2023 season, with a club option for 2024.

Dick projects to be a third-string goalkeeper, meaning the Loons will go back to the marketplace to find another goalkeeper, and they don’t have an amount of the league’s allocation money in moving on from Miller to help contribute to the cost of his replacement.

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