Kocic and Johnson gone …
The indicators were there last week …. a major move was on the cards with TFC and yesterday it came to fruition … Ryan Johnson (28) and Milos Kocic (27) head out of TFC to Portland with GK Joe Bendik (23), a first round draft pick and allocation money coming the other way.
At the season ticket relocation event at BMO last week, new President Kevin Payne openly stated there were some moves afoot but that nothing would be announced for a few days. A few people at the event also took note that in their tour of the home locker room on the way out of the event, player names were on each locker, but a few high profile names were missing, including RJ …. seems both observations were correct and yesterday TFC pulled the trigger on this sizeable deal.
TFC had already declined options on Adrian Cann, Ty Harden, Dicoy Williams, Oscar Cordon, Nicholas Lindsay and Keith Makubuya. A further three players, Andrew Wiedeman, Eric Avila, and Jeremy Hall, have been left exposed in the re-entry draft but could still return to TFC (on lower wages presumably), and Freddy Hall has – according to Twitter – decided not to return for 2013. On top of this Aaron Maund was also traded to RSL in return for Justin Braun so again we see quite a change in personnel for 2013.
Dumping Kocic and Johnson is not about the players directly – although in Johnson’s case he did make some comments towards the end of the season that may not have sat well – it is more about freeing up salary space. Kocic was only on $44K in 2012 but was widely rumoured to be looking for a lot more based on his role changing from backup to starter for 2012 after Frei’s injury. Johnson on the other hand was on $137K and presumably that would jump up a bit in 2013. The other players released or left exposed account for $894K of salary: Cann ($135K), Harden ($99K), Williams ($53K), Cordon ($44K), Lindsay ($45K), Makubuya ($44K), Wiedeman ($123K), Avila ($158K), J.Hall ($149K), F.Hall ($44K)
Although not all of the $894K would count against the cap, we did still dump just over a million dollars in salary and brought in a young GK on league minimum and serviceable striker on just over $100K as well as now having the first and third picks in the draft – a bitter pill to swallow perhaps but a clear sign that Kevin Payne now has his hand on the tiller and is attempting what he said which is to build a young squad, which is hungry for success, and can grow together into something formidable. A clear focus on youth, with our three older DPs mentoring them … its an optomistic omen for the season ahead (we hope).
Over at Canadian Soccer News, Duane Rollins, the man that internet trolls love to hate has put together an excellent article looking at the current state of the TFC roster as it relates to the salary cap, and by his reckoning TFC now have more than $600K to play with (plus allocation dollars) so a few more ‘decent’ signings could be on the cards. Article here: [LINK]