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  • Trader Aron


    It turns out that Aron Winter is a man of his word. Just days after he said that he would be spending the mid-season break trading players, he did just that. Gone are underused Nana Attakora, overpaid Jacob Peterson and unhealthy Alan Gordon. In are unfortunate Terry Dunfield and underperforming Ryan Johnson, plus an international slot. Allocation was also sent TFC’s way, which was more than likely (MLS never gives details on allocation) sent back to Vancouver in the Dunfield trade.

    It is arguably the most dramatic trade in TFC history and one of the more intriguing recent swaps in all of Toronto sports.

    [PRBREAK][/PRBREAK]Suggesting that there is a clear winner or loser in these deals is more than a bit foolhardy, although it is a bit difficult to understand Vancouver’s reasoning. We’ll come back to that, but first with the San Jose trade. There, a lot will depend on which of Attakora or Johnson most regains past form.

    Johnson is a player that has scored in this league and that’s a skill that is always going to cost. When Winter made the proclamation that he was going to trade players, the thinking Reds fan had to understand that he wasn’t going to get anything worthwhile for the players (no need to name them here) that are in every fan’s doghouse. You have to trade assets to get assets and Toronto did just that today.

    Emotionally, losing Attakora hurts, but logically the loss is not that impactful. He wasn’t playing and wasn’t in Winter’s plans. Moving him was in Attakora’s best interests and most will hope that he regains the form that saw him as a consistent starter in 2010. However, Attakora has never been quite as good as many TFC fans thought – promising, sure, but as a starting centreback he was in the bottom half of the league talent wise – and he will need to battle to get playing time in San Jose. However, he should get a fair look and that would seem to be more than he was getting here.

    As stated, Johnson is a guy that has scored in this league before. Although his form has dropped since 2009, his potential value is likely higher than Attakora's. He’s also a player that would seem to fit Winter’s preferred system. It’s likely TFC will use him up front, on the left, and ask him to play more of a winger's role within the 4-3-3.

    Moving Gordon is the most difficult part of the transaction to understand. The addition of Danny Koevermans combined with the injury struggles likely made him expendable in Winter’s mind. It’s also been suggested that Gordon quietly asked to be moved back to California, where he has played his entire MLS career up until this year.

    Jacob Peterson has one of the worst contracts in MLS. And, although he took a pot-shot at the organization on the way out of town, he should probably thank Mo Johnston every time he opens his paycheque. Moving him was a contract dump, and all-told the moves today freed up about $95,000.

    That’s the other part of this deal. It’s no secret that Toronto needs help at the back. One would have to think that everything done today was setting Winter up to get the defender he wants and desperately needs.

    One position he doesn’t need help at is holding midfield, where the acquisition of Dunfield gives the Reds four players that can and have played the position at a high level – Dunfield, Torsten Frings, Julian de Guzman and Tony Tchani. That’s led some to speculate that the move could be a precursor to de Guzman leaving. And, it must be said, the rumour mill has been working overtime in that regard.

    We’ll have more from the Vancouver perspective later, but it’s hard to see any way that getting Dunfield for basically nothing is a bad move for TFC. He’s an honest player that gives a full effort every night and, as a bonus, Canadian. If he gets playing time, he’ll become a fan favourite.

    On the whole, you have to call this trade a draw for now. However, you also have to give credit where it is due. Whereas past management at TFC was often criticised for failing to take the type of bold steps needed, today’s moves show that Winter is not afraid to be aggressive. If it works and TFC pulls itself back into contention in the second half of the season he’ll be a genius.

    And if it doesn’t? Well, it can’t be much worse than it is now, can it.

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