Home MLS Toronto FC TFC gets first-round pick, Bendik from Portland for Johnson and Kocic

TFC gets first-round pick, Bendik from Portland for Johnson and Kocic


Toronto FC has traded forward Ryan Johnson and keeper Milos Kocic to the Portland Timbers.

In return, TFC gets Portland’s top first-round pick (which, right now is third overall) in the SuperDraft. As well, TFC also gets Portland back-up keeper Joe Bendik, who appeared in five matches last season. Oh, and TFC gets some of that magical mystery allocation money.

As it stands, Toronto has the No. 1 and 3 picks in its pocket. And that opens up a lot of options — do the Reds use both? Or does this give the team some leverage for another trade before the draft?

But Portland GM Gavin Wilkinson made it obvious that he doesn’t think much of this year’s draft class.

“After weighing our immediate needs and evaluating the college pool, we felt it was in the club’s best interest to give up a draft pick to secure a talented goal-scorer and an experienced player like Ryan,” said Wilkinson in a release issued by the Timbers. “He adds another weapon to our attacking group and can create goals in a number of ways. He also offers versatility in a number of positions in either a three- or two-front system.”

While TFC frees up a little bit of salary space, it’s not that major a factor in the deal. Combined, Johnson and Kocic come with a cap hit of just under US$182,000. But Kocic and Bendik both make in the area of 44K a season, so their salaries are basically a wash. For a TFC team that currently has three designated players on board eating up just a hair over $1 million of cap space, freeing up a little more than $137,000 is significant, but not groundbreaking. Really, the financial significance of the deal can’t be measured until MLS finally gets to the point where it publicizes allocation money — giving fans and media clearer pictures of each team’s salary positions (which, of course, would help increase interest in the league).

Johnson scored seven times in 31 MLS matches for TFC. And, when he played, he didn’t come off. He played 2,769 minutes. Of the 31 matches played, he was only off the pitch for 21 minutes. So, basically, Johnson was a 90-minute striker, which spoke to not only his fitness, but to the lack of options TFC had at its disposal.

He also scored four times in the CONCACAF Champions League.

Kocic was in goal for all five of Toronto FC’s regular-season wins. Of the 23 points TFC earned, Kocic was in goal for matches that produced 21 of them. But the rub on Kocic is that, even though he is brave and athletic in goal, he can have lapses in concentration that lead to poor goals. And that was, unfortunately, a trend that continued in his play in 2012. Even with No. 1 keeper Stefan Frei out with injury, Kocic lost seven starts to Freddy Hall, who was signed halfway through the season.

The fact Hall got so much playing time after Paul Mariner became coach of the team was proof that Kocic was not getting what would amount to a vote of confidence from TFC, even though he was forced to miss some time for family reasons. Still, losing seven starts to Hall was significant.

“With the addition of Milos, we felt it was important to add another experienced goalkeeper to strengthen our depth in that position,” said Wilkinson. “He has been a regular starter in this league and has worked with our goalkeeper coach Mike Toshack before, making the transition to Portland even easier.”

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One Comment

  1. No

    December 12, 2012 at 9:22 pm

    No. The finances ARE important; it’s not just the salary (though Kocic was in line for a raise), but the allocation. Depending on its size, we’re talking about a net gain of 137k, but but probably closer to 400k.

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