Friday, February 23, 2007

SPECULATION: TORONTO FC DEFENDERS WANTED???

With so much being made about the need for a backup keeper lately, not much is being written about the lack of depth in terms of defenders on the current Toronto FC roster. Toronto FC have done a great job at assembling a full complement of forwards and midfielders given the many parameters and restrictions placed on the team. The defensive ranks however, look very thin on paper. Beyond Marco Reda, Andrew Boyens, Chris Pozniak, and Adam Braz, Toronto FC has limited options at the back. While Jim Brennan and Carl Robinson, can be called on to play on the back line, their preferred roles will surely be in the midfield. Garfield Reid, a Jamaican International on trial last week in Florida, was released by TFC on Tuesday.

A defender who I have been informed is apparently available, and also very interested in returning home, is Toronto native Victor Oppong. After a promising start to his career, including stints with various Canadian Youth National and Olympic Teams, his career has stagnated somewhat recently. Oppong has been plying his trade in the lower tiers of the German league, and has fallen off the radar for most. A move home to be closer to family and friends may be in the cards. Oppong is currently exploring his future options, and whether it will be possible to extend his stay in Europe. According to some very close to the player, North American options are very possible given the right set of circumstances.

That said, it is not known whether Toronto FC have shown any interest in Oppong's services, or if they even rate the player at all. It is also not known how well the player has progressed over the last few years, nor his salary / compensation demands, which may be difficult to meet given the limited resources of MLS. After all, even lower division teams in some European leagues offer different incentives and bonuses for players well beyond the basic salary. Conversely, a player who is lower down on the depth charts of an MLS team (as Oppong would be), can't expect to make a great living, until they prove their worth in the MLS.

1 comment:

arsenalist said...

Great post and nice insight.

I don't know much about the club as I get my info from scarce newspaper reports which are often wrong and just what I read on the Toronto FC website and maybe BigSoccer.com.

But it appears to me that Mo Johnston's priority has been to recruit an attacking team (because he himself was a striker). I read a Sun article a couple days back which said that he would rather play an up-tempo attacking style and force teams to play that way instead of a defensive battle.

As a fan that's great news since we like to see goals but I do wonder (and as you point out) that he might be overlooking the defense in this process.