The MLS roster freeze comes into effect at 5 PM on Friday so with only hours left to make moves Toronto FC have been active by completing a trade with the Philadelphia Union. TFC picked up 28-year-old goalkeeper Chris Konopka from the Union in exchange for a third-round SuperDraft pick in the 2014 draft.
That third round pick will likely actually be the first round of the Supplemental Draft unless the league has gone back to a longer draft so it is a small price to pay to acquire the keeper. It is about all that it would make sense to give up for a player like Konopka who has spent his entire MLS career doing little more than sitting on the bench.
The 28-year-old has spent time with the Kansas City Wizards, New York Red Bulls, and the Union after being taken by the Wizards in the 2007 Supplemental Draft. Over his time in the league he has only managed to make 2 starts but he did find some minutes in the three years that he spent outside of the league after being cut by the Wizards following the 2007 season.
Konopka spent three seasons playing for three different clubs in Ireland. He made stops at Bohemian FC, Sporting Fingal, and Waterford United. His best run came with in his final season in Ireland when he managed to make 12 league appearances for Waterford.
Since returning to MLS, Konopka has continued to be a career backup keeper and that is likely just what he will be with Toronto FC. His arrival makes it seem very likely that we have seen the last of Stefan Frei with TFC which would clear the way for Konopka to slot in as the backup to Joe Bendik moving forward.
If that is all this deal is, picking up a new backup keeper, it seems to be a tidy piece of business for Toronto. Konopka comes in with a very low cap-hit so in that way he would be an upgrade over Frei and assuming Bendik does not get a raise before the 2014 season would actually give TFC one of the most affordable goalkeeping tandems in MLS.
TFC coaches continue to say nice things about Quillan Roberts who has yet to feature since singing a home grown deal last summer but making a move like this suggests that they don't believe he will be ready to assume the backup role in 2014. Hopefully, the arrival of Konopka will allow the club to send Roberts out on loan next year to finally get him the minutes he needs to develop.
"Chris is a keeper that we've had our eye on for some time and we're happy to get this deal done," said Toronto FC Head Coach Ryan Nelsen. "He will be a welcomed addition to an already solid stable of keepers we have here at Toronto FC."
At least there was no over the top praise of the newest arrival this time and considering how things worked out with Bendik and Milos Kocic before him somehow it would not surprise me to see Konopka go from career backup to decent starter at some point in his time with TFC.
This could very well not be the only move that TFC makes today in advance of the roster freeze but don't expect them to make any major splashes even if they do manage to ship Frei out before 5 PM rolls around.