Noooooo!!!!! He's ours! That was going to be the best midfield in MLS!! To VANCOUVER?! Why is this happening?!? OK, OK, got it out of my system. Actually I'd long since resigned myself to the fact that Toronto wasn't going to be able to keep Laba with the team this year. With the signings of Gilberto, Jermain Defoe and Michael Bradley followed by the loan of Julio Cesar, well there was pretty much no chance that MLS was going to let TFC bend the rules to keep him this year.
Well it had to happen - we all knew it was coming. And now we know how and where. Earlier this evening Luke Wileman tweeted the bombshell that confirmed what Ben Rycroft and AFTN Canada had tweeted about earlier:
Honestly this is as close to making the best of a bad situation as we could have hoped for. Laba is leaving, but only on loan. MLS rules for the new intra-league loan mean that he'll only spend one season with the Whitecaps and return to TFC after the MLS Cup.
On top of that he is staying within MLS - this is a huge deal. He spends another year learning the league, playing against the same teams he would have with Toronto and best of all - he's not playing in our conference. The only way this could have been better is if he went to one of the American lesser lights so that we don't have to see one of our best (and in my case favourite) players help the Caps do anything good. *A little side note to Caps fans - the Voyageurs Cup is ours - don't get your hopes up*
But the last and possibly best thing about this? He gets a year learning from one of the best holding mids we've had the privilege to watch here at BMO; he gets to learn from Carl Robinson. This is a good thing - really folks; there are far worse outcomes.
So chin up TFC fans - in less than a year Matias will be back with the team better than ever and ready to join Bradley and Jonathan Osorio as one hell of a tasty midfield next season. Just think on that for a minute; one full year of TFC gelling and getting better, one full year of Laba learning and acclimatizing to MLS - in another year all the changes that have been brought to our club could finally see us have not just an OK team, but a really good one.
So this isn't really good-bye - it's more of a see you soon, good luck, learn, do well, we'll see you soon kind of thing instead. Thanks for what you did last season Matias; can't wait to see you next year back in TFC red, better than ever.