Home MLS Toronto FC TFC remakes its roster and gets Vancouver’s hometown hero

TFC remakes its roster and gets Vancouver’s hometown hero

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After the 2-0 loss to the Houston Dynamo last Saturday, in which Toronto FC didn’t register a shot on goal, technical director and head coach Aron Winter said in the post-game interview that he didn’t have enough quality in the team, and needed to make trades to improve the squad.

On Thursday, TFC made two major deals — drastically remaking the roster.

The Reds acquired Terry Dunfield, who scored against TFC on opening day at Empire Field, from the Vancouver Whitecaps for allocation money and future considerations. Dunfield, who was the lone Vancouverite in the regular ‘Caps lineup, didn’t start in the the team’s most recent match, a loss at Colorado.

And then, TFC sent striker Alan Gordon, displaced at centre forward with the arrival of DP centre forward Danny Koevermans, out-of-favour defender Nana Attakora and midfielder Jacob Peterson to the San Jose Earthquakes, a team that has been a preferred trading partner to the Reds over the past several seasons.

TFC gets Jamaican forward Ryan Johnson, allocation money and an international roster spot, signs that Winter isn’t done when it comes to making deals.

Attakora, who went from being one of the best young defenders in MLS to surplus parts in the span of less than half a season, now gets his badly-needed chance to get his career back on the rails under the tutelage of Canadian coach Frank Yallop.

The Whitecaps dealt the lone hometown player on its roster.

“We are pleased to add Terry to our midfield, he is a passionate player and he will fit in well, ” said Winter in a release. “He has played well this season for Vancouver and we have seen first-hand what he is capable of.”

What’s interesting is that Whitecaps’ Coach Tom Soehn and President Bob Lenarduzzi were on a conference call Thursday along with Manchester City assistant coach Brian Kidd, himself a former NASL star, to promote this coming Monday’s friendly between the two teams. Thursday was slated to be a major day for promoting the Herbalife World Football Challenge.

But the trade sabotaged that. That game moves into the background.

Dunfield’s hometown status “irrelevant”
Lenarduzzi said that when Dunfield, who played on the Canadian team at the Gold Cup, came up in discussions with Toronto FC, no one in the Whitecaps’ brain trust got sentimental about the fact the co-captain was a hometown player.

“No question that’s something that’s topical,” said Lenarduzzi. “Ultimately, look at the number of players in the NHL from Vancouver. It’s irrelevant. In pro sport, you build clubs on the abilities of players, not where they come from.”

Soehn said it was key for the Whitecaps to get assets so they could improve the midfield.

“He (Dunfield) is going somewhere where they are really excited to get him. It opens a door for him.”

And, again, the Whitecaps’ couldn’t afford to be sentimental about the fact Dunfield was about to face his former club, Manchester City, in what would have been a great occasion for him.

“This trade is about Terry, the individual,” said Soehn. “Trades are always difficult.”

On the Toronto FC front, Dunfield adds to a glut of holding midfielders, while the team remains desperately short on the backline. In losing Gordon and adding Johnson, the Reds get a quick player who was pushed to the background when Chris Wondolowski emerged as a scoring machine in the Bay Area, and lose a player who has scored some key goals, but is injury prone and plays the same position as Koevermans.

“We are rebuilding the club and this deal was necessary to continue that process,” said Winter.

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