Austin FC took Canadian defender Kamal Miller in Tuesday's MLS expansion draft, then promptly flipped him to Montreal in a trade.
The Impact gave up US$225,000 in 2021 general allocation money and a first-round draft pick (11th overall) in the 2021 MLS SuperDraft to get Miller. The deal also includes $50,000 in conditional 2021 general allocation money.
The 23-year-old from Pickering, Ont., taken by Austin with its fifth and final pick in the expansion draft, made 30 regular-season and playoff appearances in his two seasons with Orlando City since being taken 27th overall in the 2019 SuperDraft from Syracuse University.
Orlando exercised its option on Miller, who has won five caps for Canada, earlier this month but left him unprotected in the expansion draft.
"We are happy with the acquisition of this young Canadian international, who had a great 2020 season," Impact sporting director Olivier Renard said in a statement. "Kamal is a left-footed defender with a different style than what we already have at this position."
Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver did not lose players in the five-round expansion draft.
Austin used the first pick on Dutch forward Danny Hoesen, whose season with the San Jose Earthquakes ended early due to surgery to repair oblique and adductor muscle tears.
The 29-year-old collected 23 goals and 12 assists in four seasons (104 games) with the Quakes. Hoesen saw just 249 minutes of action this year, spread over eight games, with one goal.
He was out of contract with San Jose at the end of the season.
New York Red Bulls midfielder Jared Stroud went second. The 24-year-old American, taken in the fourth round (83rd overall) from Colgate in the 2018 MLS SuperDraft, appeared in 20 games with the Red Bulls in his rookie season.
Austin took Nashville goalkeeper Brady Scott with the third pick. A former U.S. under-20 international, the 21-year-old Scott joined Nashville from Germany's FC Koln.
Veteran U.S. international midfielder Joe Corona arrived from the Los Angeles Galaxy in the fourth round. The 30-year-old, who has won 23 caps for the U.S., joined the Galaxy in 2019 after stints in Mexico with Club Tijuana, Club America, Veracruz and Sinaloa.
Atlanta, Columbus, FC Cincinnati, Los Angeles FC, Minnesota, New England, New York City FC, Portland, Seattle and Sporting Kansas City were exempt from Tuesday's draft because they lost players to Inter Miami CF and Nashville SC in last year's expansion draft.
The remaining 16 clubs, including all three Canadian franchises, were allowed to protect 12 players from their senior, supplemental and reserve rosters. Players on Generation Adidas contracts and homegrown players aged 25 and under are exempt from the draft.
Teams that lost a player receive US$50,000 in general allocation money and get to skip the 2021 expansion draft.
Rodney Redes was Austin's first-ever signing, announced on July 6. Fellow Paraguayan forward Cecilio Domínguez arrived in August as the club's first designated player.
On Sunday, Austin took advantage of the league's half-day trade window, following a league-mandated 45-day roster freeze, to acquire acquiring Nick Lima from San Jose, Jon Gallagher from Atlanta, Julio Cascante from Portland, Ben Sweat from Inter Miami and Ulises Segura from D.C. United. The combined moves cost Austin a total of $1.75 million in general allocation money.
Austin's brain trust includes sporting director Claudio Reyna and head coach Josh Wolff, who collected 164 U.S. caps between them during their playing career. Davey Arnaud, a former Montreal Impact player, is an assistant coach.
Auston, the league's 27th franchise and third in Texas, is set to kick off in 2021.
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This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 15, 2020