Wow. Another shocker. Jeff Cunningham is officially in the fold. Add yet another MLS big name player to the revolving door down at BMO. I just hope Cunningham was made aware of and consulted regarding the trade before he heard the news (see Mulrooney, Guevara).
When news broke of a trade sending Esky to RSL this morning, I immediately thought Toronto was bringing in Toronto native Andy Williams or Jack Stewart who would both count as Canadians on the roster. After all this is a team in need of depth. I could never have imagined Jeff Cunningham was on his way. He is a huge improvement overall on the strikers Mo has brought in thus far. Some believed (including myself) that Cunningham truly deserved to be in Germany last year for the World Cup. He is still a US national team possibility.
That said I feel terrible for Eskandarian. I loved his work ethic, enthusiasm, and how he has reached out into the community. Alecko Eskandarian had quickly and deservedly turned into a fan favourite here in Toronto. Esky was the face of many of TFC's promotional campaigns and even kept his own blog. It was interesting reading his comments to Steven Goff of the Washington Post, regarding how ticked off he was for being mislead by Toronto after being notified this morning of the trade. He made sure to jump the gun on Toronto FC by getting his side of the story out first. He apparently did not want to be traded and was just settling in to life in our great city. He wanted to make sure people understood he didn't ask for the trade, and didn't want Toronto FC to spin it any other way. Let's hope they don't. Although I do understand that some of Alecko's pay was being held back temporarily for taxation complications that surfaced.
Bringing in Cunningham reunites two former Columbus Crew prospects - Edson Buddle the other. They often competed for work, with Buddle eventually kept on in Columbus - a regrettable mistake by Columbus, though they still have Eddie Gaven to show for him thanks to Mo Jo himself.
I still think TFC are lacking that one player that can light up the imagination of the fans. That creative, inspirational player, one who can turn games with one great ball or run, and who can service strikers on a consistent basis. These players of course are not easy to find. Yet someone is desperately needed in the middle of the park to spray balls up to Dichio and now Cunningham. Thus far the midfield, aside from Ronnie O'Brien, is severely lacking. Sure Edu is doing a fine job as a rookie, but Toronto simply does not possess a player in midfield who can turn a match and strike fear in opponents. Carl Robinson, TFC's highest paid player, shows signs of being a very classy player, yet has honestly not been a game breaker for TFC thus far (7 games in). In MLS, anyone making the kind of money Robinson ($315,000) or even Andy Welsh ($205,000) are taking up on the salary cap, they better be worth it. I mean there getting paid more than some of the true stars in the MLS, and that adjustment period they needed to get accustomed to MLS is just about over imo.
With Esky gone, it is clear no one on the roster is safe. I am so very curious to see who Mo will keep around past the "contract guarantee" deadline that is fast approaching. I have a feeling Mo will look to dump some extra salary from the cap, in order to make a move for an international or two in the summer. Time will tell, but Mo who is running TFC like many of us run our fantasy league teams, is far from done!