Ryan Nelsen and Kevin Payne promised that changes would be coming to Toronto FC, and it looks like those changes are in full swing now, as Toronto FC traded for Bobby Convey from Sporting Kansas City, in exchange for a 2014 natural 3rd Round MLS SuperDraft pick, or in other words, a first round MLS Supplemental Draft pick.
Convey is a familiar name to those who follow Major League Soccer. Having started his career in 2000 at D.C. United, Convey then moved on to Reading F.C. in England, before returning to MLS in 2009 to play with the San Jose Earthquakes. In 2012, he was traded to Sporting Kansas City for an international roster spot, amidst reports of a soured relationship with Quakes head coach Frank Yallop. He now lands in Toronto FC, reunited with his old boss, Kevin Payne, and his old teammate, Ryan Nelsen.
At 29 years old, Convey is exactly the kind of established MLS player Toronto FC needs. He has enough experience, both locally and abroad, to contribute right away for the club, but also to help younger players find their feet. He has 189 appearances in the league, and has scored 21 career goals in all competitions. He is also a former United States international, having picked up his first cap back in 2000 and his last in 2008. In that eight-year span, Convey amassed 46 caps for the United States.
The best part of signing Convey is that Toronto FC bolster their wings, at last. In Hogan Ephraim, John Bostock and Reggie Lambe, Toronto FC hasn't found much success out wide, but Convey, a natural left winger, gives Toronto FC a dangerous option on the flanks. His crossing is one of his key characteristics. However, he has had a tendency of picking up injuries, which has limited his playing time at Sporting Kansas City, with CJ Sapong the favoured option.
Sapong isn't the only player that kept Convey out of the starting line up - Soony Saad has been Peter Vermes' preferred option off the bench, and with Kei Kamara's return to MLS, Convey slipped further down the depth chart at Sporting Kansas City. In Toronto, he will compete with fewer players, giving him a chance to start fresh again.
Injuries - and lack of opportunities - are very much a thing of the past for Convey. In February, Convey was instrumental in Sporting Kansas City's triumph in the Disney Pro Classic preseason tournament, and, after spending much of 2012 hampered by hamstring trouble, Convey returned to full fitness and hasn't slipped back. Yet, the threat of injury is something Toronto FC need to manage. The club cannot afford to lose any more influential players, especially considering the damage that Richard Eckersley's absence caused to Toronto's back line.
Convey is also partially blind in his left eye from optical nerve damage, but this hasn't affected his career at all.
Another drawback is his price - Convey is priced at $215,000, making him on the more expensive players on Toronto's roster. At that price point, he needs to be playing as many games as possible to warrant his inclusion, but with Toronto's forward depth already stretched thin, playing time shouldn't be hard to come by in a red kit. His benefits outweigh his drawbacks in this regard, but, as always, it comes down to performance, in order to prove he is worth the cash. In an ideal situation, Sporting Kansas City will eat part of his salary, since this move smells like a salary dump for Kansas as much as it is an increase in squad depth for Toronto FC.
Convey has the potential to be an important figure for Toronto. He is certainly a capable player, and gives Toronto proper depth on the wings. In short, Payne and Nelsen deliver once more, picking up a player with quality, using their long-established connections in the league.
Hey, for a supplemental draft pick, Convey is a steal!