Thursday, July 14, 2011

MLS TradeCentre

American Idol is the worst thing about television, culture, and possibly human history. Running a close second, though, is TSN's TradeCentre, the annual frenzy surrounding the NHL's trade deadline to which TSN dedicates about 72 hours of coverage and provides countless teams of 'analysts' (I use the word generously), each more uninteresting than the last.

For possibly the first time, a series of MLS trades, involving both Canadian MLS teams, has caused a ripple in the Canadian sports world. Terry Dunfield, traded from Vancouver Whitecaps to Toronto for future and financial considerations, was trending on twitter this afternoon, for whatever that's worth.

In addition to acquiring Dunfield, Toronto shipped out Last Original RedTM Nana Attakora, along with forward Alan Gordon and midfielder Jacob Peterson, to the San Jose Earthquakes for Jamaican international Ryan Johnson and some of the usual non-human nonsense that gets thrown into MLS trades.

I could get into the implications for teams and fanbases but to be honest, I don't much care, and there are other sites out there that will do a much better job of same. Both Toronto and Vancouver are in the midst of dreadful competitive seasons and the soccer betting websites have them as longshots even to qualify for the MLS playoffs.

I have a more immediate interest in the Canadian players involved, as well as possible consequences for other Canadians who did not change clubs today.

It's hard not to feel sorry for Dunfield. He was the returning hometown boy, scored a goal in the magical season opener for Vancouver, and generally appeared to offer every fibre of his being to the cause. He might have appreciated the change of scenery if not for the fact that he was being shipped out to another team that has been equally miserable on the pitch. Not only that, but he goes from being one of the more regular midfield players with the Whitecaps to a TFC squad that is crowded with central midfielders: Julian de Guzman, Tony Tchani, Torsten Frings, Nathan Sturgis, not to mention the youngsters like Oscar Cordon and Matt Stinson.

If he does end up playing a role for Toronto FC, it will be because Julian de Guzman has moved on to greener pastures. It's not hard to see that de Guzman and Aron Winter have not been on the same page, and Winter would surely like to have use of a DP slot and related money to acquire a central defender. If the rumours are true Julian could be headed back to Europe, which could be best for all parties, including the Canadian national team.

Winter needs to fill a whole at centre half because early on he decided that Attakora lacked the skill or temperament to do the job in his system. He was the first of Toronto's merry-go-round of coaches to question Attakora's talent, but all of those previous coaches were garbage. So he may be right, but I would not be surprised if former Canadian manager Frank Yallop is able to get the best out of the young Nana (he is still only 22) in San Jose.

As a fan of Canada first, my ultimate goal is to see as many Canadians as possible starting for their clubs and gaining valuable experience. If this flurry of activity results in each of Attakora, Dunfield and de Guzman moving to new clubs and becoming regulars, then it will have been a success. (Though I do shed a tear for Vancouver's lineup, Arsenal-like -- of a few years back --- in their lack of domestic players).

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Tchani's now gone, so that leaves one less competitor for a midfield place. If de Guzman shows that he is truly healthy he'll benefit from playing alongside Frings and the other midfield candidates, be it Dunfield, Sturgis or even the Canadian youngsters for that matter. I just doubt that he's truly healthy from his knee issues.