Friday, December 12, 2008

De Rosario to TFC

This headline, which has bounced back and forth between the realms of wish and rumour ever since TFC's inception, is now a reality.

Toronto FC made a big splash in the transfer market on Friday, acquiring hometown boy Dwayne DeRosario from the Houston Dynamo for young defender Julius James and allocation money.
Those are just the facts. Says Mo:
"Dwayne is a player we've admired for quite some time. When the chance came to work with Houston to get this deal, we were obviously very happy," Toronto manager Mo Johnston said in a statement.
Clearly the Reds have grown tired of their poor position in the Canadian content tables. (Not!)

Of course, the real reason is the Dwayne is a highly marketable player from the GTA that happens to be one of the best in the league at the attacking midfield position, an area where Toronto have been lacking some creativity. TFC don't need help to sell tickets but do need help scoring goals from all parts of the pitch, and in this domain DDR is one of the best.

The Canadian content implications are quite interesting. From the beginning of 2008, where only 2 Canadians featured regularly in the starting XI for TFC (Jim Brennan and Greg Sutton), TFC is now at a point where it is easy to imagine 5 Canucks in a full-strength starting XI. Since Julius James was shipped out in the deal, and Marvell Wynne could very well move on to greener pastures in the near future, it is clear that Toronto are banking on Nana Attakora-Gyan for some important minutes in defense. And Kevin Harmse's versatility, if not his reliability, at 2 positions mean that he could be a regular feature as well. In case you lost track, that's Sutton, Brennan, De Rosario, Harmse, and Attakora-Gyan as potential (semi-)regular starters.

Another bright side is that while Dwayne is an international, it shouldn't hurt TFC's roster too much on WCQ dates in 2009 since Canada won't be playing any (rim shot!)

I don't know how I feel about the fact that Toronto's best Canadians are all over the hill (Sutton, Brennan, and De Ro are all on the wrong side of 30) but I view this as progress on several fronts. This trade will also make it a little easier for me to cheer for the boys from BMO.

Credit where credit is due: Of the soccer blogs I read, some canadian guys writing about soccer were the first to catch on to this story, even before the quoted CBC article above was published.

QUICK HIT: I don't know nearly enough about the younger Canadian talent to get excited or up in arms about a youth squad announcement. But the latest CSA U-20 roster release does include 17-year old Whitecaps wunderkind Ethan Gage, which should calm down the tinfoil hat crowd who inferred from his exclusion from the recent Switzerland training camp that playing for Canada wasn't in his future plans.

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