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Cann leaves TFC, begins holdout

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Adrian Cann can’t go on.

Toronto FC’s reigning team MVP has walked away from the club, beginning a holdout as he continues to look for an improved contract from the club. Cann did not travel with the team to Charleston, S.C. where the Reds will participate in the Carolina Challenge Cup.

Cann signed a four-year deal to come to Toronto FC last season, but he made a huge impression as the safety-first centre back, providing some stability in the club’s fragile back line. Both Cann and Toronto FC were working on a new deal, but Cann rejected the club’s latest offer before packing his bags. Cann took home US$65,342 last season, according to the figures provided by the MLS Players Union.

“We are disappointed that Adrian has decided to return home at this time,” said Toronto FC Head Coach and Technical Director Aron Winter in a statement released by the club. “Adrian is heading into the second year of a four-year contract. We are currently in discussions with the league regarding the situation and are assessing the options available to us.”

Dwayne De Rosario, the club’s all-time leading scorer, suggested on the club’s media day that there would be “too much” risk in playing the season — which is an option year on his nearly US$450,000-per season contract — if he didn’t get a new guaranteed deal with the club.

Cann’s situation is similar to that of San Jose Chris Wondolowski. He was on a long-term contract last season that saw him make just $48,000 a year. After finishing on top of the MLS scoring chart last season and earning a nomination for the MVP award, that deal was torn up and “Wondo” got a new deal.

Toronto FC confirmed that the MVP decision is made by team management. While Cann had a solid season in 2010, the fact that team management named him the club’s MVP over De Rosario — whose 13 goals and three assists on the 30 MLS goals TFC scored last year meant that he figured in on more than half of the team’s offensive output in 2011 — had the conspiracy theories going.

If there was a move to name Cann MVP to devalue De Rosario, the plan just might be backfiring. The award has given the defender the ammo he needs. And, if management decided to not name DeRo MVP because of his infamous cheque-signing gesture after he scored a goal in a late-season loss to San Jose, Cann is the one who stands to benefit. In fact, DeRo may as well have been writing the cheque for Cann.

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