Sunday, March 28, 2010

Player Activity Update -Edwards out, Conway in and a cast of hundreds

Please indulge me, I am going to take a moment to toot my own horn and wave my own flag.
Entering season 4, I think I have maintained this blog at a decent rate over the years. All games covered. All trades, signings and draft picks mentioned. Lately I have been finding it hard to keep the old blog up to date. So I know this post should have preceded the game in Columbus, but I am throwing it in anyway.
The Mo/Preki roster moves have been popping up in odd ways. I made the mistake of thinking that every time a player left I should wait until I knew who was coming in before I posted. Well, so much for that logic.
In the days leading up to the first game in Columbus TFC signed Martin Saric (midfielder), Dan Gargan (defender), traded Marvell Wynne (defender) for Nick LaBrocca (midfielder), cut Brian Edwards (keeper) and picked up veteran Jon Conway (keeper). Everybody clear on all of that? I have a feeling that there will be more moves in the days/weeks ahead. It is speculated that commish Garber will be making some news on long rumoured changes to the Designated Player rule. I think he will either move up the number of DP's per team and/or reduce the salary cap hit that these players have (presently 400,000).
I am not an expert on TFC's relationship to the salary cap. I can never keep the allocations straight and there is no official source that I know of. I am a roster counter. A MLS team has a maximum roster of 20 senior players, 4 development players and possibly two call-ups from the academy. Toronto's senior roster must contain a number of Canadians, some International players and some International players who must be American. The numbers on these change from year to year, depending on trades with other teams and MLS considerations. Another wild card in all of this is turning International players into Americans or Canadians, depending on how long they have lived here.
The Toronto roster presently has 21 players on it. This number includes 17 year old Zac Herold- the 2010 draft pick listed as a developmental player (but who is not with the team) and Ali Gerba - the Canadian striker who has been told he is not with the team any longer.
You would think that this means there is room (roster wise, not salary cap wise) for one more developmental player and two more senior players. It was suggested that Emmanuel Gomez is being moved to the developmental list, which would create another senior spot. Now, we roster counters know that Mo rarely fills the roster to the max. The salary cap samba almost determines that Toronto plays with less.
All of this roster shifting is what lead to the departure of Brian Edwards. The letting in 5 goals against New York last October might have been a factor too. The fact is that a young keeper is not going to develop as a MLS back-up, so why not give the role to a veteran that Preki is comfortable with?
I think that the larger obstacle that faces TFC is having neither a reserve team nor the ability to loan players out to ensure that they get playing time. The Lynx are still in town and Rochester is just across the lake.
The draft choices, Herold and Joseph are not getting playing time, Gomez and Sanyang could be loaned out and come back stronger players. Has Gabe Gala developed as he should by being the Canadian kid who never plays for Toronto over these past years? Loaning would have given Toronto an alternative to cutting ties with players such as Brian Edwards and the above. I know it is a single entity league, but the growth of academies shows that they have some awareness of the need to nurture. The recent CBA contains a clause for a committee to be formed by the MLS and players to look at rethinking the reserve system. Do you think they have room at the table for a blogger?

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