While nothing has been officially confirmed yet, It was reported on Soccerbyives that TFC are trading Ryan Johnson and Milos Kocic to Portland for the 3rd overall pick in this year's SuperDraft. Kocic himself has tweeted his goodbyes and thanks to TFC fans, so it seems like it's all over bar the official press release.
At first glance it seems a bit lopsided, Johnson and Kocic were both important parts of the team last year, but it's really not surprising as both of them, as well as seemingly being criminally underappreciated here, were probably among the best and most likely trade bait TFC had, for various reasons.
Kocic, well he always seemed to be behind Stefan Frei in the pecking order. Despite plenty of strong performances towards the end of 2011 and early 2012, his play seemed to drop off a bit towards the end of the year. Triplets is an obvious explanation, though I'd be more prone to blame the shellshock that comes from playing behind that defence. It'd be nice to have a solid backup keeper such as Kocic, but a) he's probably looking for a bit of a raise, and b) TFC has many other pressing needs so can't really afford to have an asset sitting on the bench most games.
That does of course leave us with Bendik competing with Freddy Hall in that back up spot. Hall fills me with absolutely 0 confidence, let's hope Bendik is better. Mainly let's hope Stefan Frei doesn't get injured again (why does nobody dismiss him as injury prone given how much time he's missed over the last couple of years?).
Ryan Johnson, well he certainly gave the impression at his end of year media interviews that he wasn't expecting to be around, and the fact that his nameplate was missing from the dressing room didn't go unnoticed by curious season seat re-locators. He was clearly the best trade bait we had, a proven MLS level player at a reasonable salary. His lack of consistency and unpolished finishing will always prevent him from taking that next step to being a star in the league, but his efforts for TFC shouldn't be discounted, he was a workhorse this year, if not always seeming happy about it.
What do TFC get out of all this? A 3rd overall draft pick, allocation money and Joe Bendik? As with anything in MLS, the devil will be in the details, details that we'll probably never get to know about. How much allocation money is coming TFC's way? At the very least this has cleared up a bit of cap space, Johnson and Kocic were on $181,913 last year and with raises, you'd think $225k would be a realistic figure if TFC had kept both of them. Bendik's salary last year was $44,000.
There's other signings supposedly on the way (Nik Ledgerwood is the rumour du jour) so hopefully when everything can be considered, it will all make sense.
Will TFC keep this pick, as well as their 1st overall, or can one of them be traded? This could easily be a way to keep a high pick while trading the first overall for something else, or maybe they'll be looking to bring in 2 Generation Adidas players who can make an impact. Whatever happens, TFC aren't done, there's more to come. In Payne we trust I guess.
As a bit of a depressing look at what can happen when regimes change so often and players fall out of favour with the new boss, and when a team is constantly trading from a position of weakness, trying to plug holes, let's look at what TFC gave up and ended up with for it's year and a half of Ryan Johnson. Alan Gordon, Jacob Peterson, Nana Attakora and Milos Kocic for the 3rd overall draft pick, allocation money and Joe Bendik. Whoo!