Sturgis trade ensures TFC gets a poor return for a first-round pick

Nathan Sturgis

In early 2011, Toronto FC traded the eighth overall pick in the MLS SuperDraft to the Vancouver Whitecaps for defender/holding midfielder Nathan Sturgis. The Whitecaps had selected Sturgis in the expansion draft from the Seattle Sounders, and flipped the player to TFC.

On Thursday, TFC sent Sturgis to the Houston Dynamo for a conditional draft pick… in 2014.

The Whitecaps used the draft pick to take Michael Nanchoff. At that time, C.J. Sapong, who would go on to become the league’s rookie of the year, was still on the board. Will Bruin, another forward who had some impressive spurts in 2011, was also still there for the taking.

Meanwhile, Sturgis played in 14 MLS games, or 953 minutes. That’s not a solid return for a first-round pick that could, read “could,” have been turned into a player like a Sapong or a Bruin.

As deals go, it won’t go down as one of the best moves TFC has made. On one hand, you can argue that the MLS draft is such a crapshoot, that first-round picks aren’t worth the same as they are in NHL, NFL or NBA drafts. After all, more than half of the names you see in the first round of the 2011 SuperDraft haven’t come close to being spare parts, let alone regular starters.

And, technical director Aron Winter saved what could have been a miserable draft year by stealing Joao Plata in the fourth round. TFC is working to ensure that the Ecuadorean can come over on a permanent deal.

Now, Sturgis gets some time in Houston to try and revive his career. If he doesn’t, that conditional pick won’t be anything special. The quality of that pick will depend on if Sturgis can remain with the Dynamo and can actually be a useful part of the team.

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About Steven Sandor

I'm currently the colour commentator for FC Edmonton broadcasts on Sportsnet, NASL.com and TEAM 1260. I've covered the Toronto FC beat for four years, worked for the Edmonton Aviators of the USL for a season, covered the Edmonton Drillers of the NPSL and started covering Canadian World Cup qualifiers in 1996. I've covered the CONCACAF Champions League and the U-20 World Cup. I'm passionate about soccer in North America.