Toronto FC appear to have made one of the first free agent signings in Major League Soccer history. The club was rumoured to be among a half dozen teams who were interested in ex- Colorado Rapids defender Drew Moor, and they appear to have won those sweepstakes.
John Molinaro of Sportsnet reported this morning that the club is just waiting for the league to finalize a deal that would see the 31-year-old defender join Toronto FC. Moor has already reportedly been in Toronto this past week, where he toured the club's training grounds.
To this point Moor has had a long and successful Major League Soccer career, having played 304 games between the Colorado Rapids and FC Dallas. He has scored 22 goals and 7 assists in that time, and is also reliable, having played at least 20 games in all of his MLS campaigns.
He has also won an MLS Cup in Toronto, albeit with the Colorado Rapids in 2010 when the league final was still played at a neutral venue, in this case BMO Field. That winning experience is certainly important to Toronto, who do not have much playoff experience on their roster, and fewer still with championship rings.
Moor was also on this year's Major League Soccer All-Star team that defeated Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 in Colorado. He played the entire second half of the match in the centre of defence, and was important in seeing out the result for the all-stars.
The salary that Moor commands, however, adds him to an already expensive centre backline for Toronto FC. Moor was being paid $270,000 but could be negotiated to as high as $310,500 next season. Add this to the fact that Damien Perquis makes $372,500 and Ahmed Kantari makes $345,000.
The addition continues with the upwards of $197,000 they will be paying reported acquisition Steven Beitashour and the raise they almost certainly gave to Justin Morrow and Toronto FC have a very expensive backline. This isn't a bad thing, however, as it is nice to see the club finally balancing out their wage distribution between the backline and frontline.
It's not just about the economics either, Moor is a very strong and proven MLS defender. He is certainly old, and will not be a longterm solution as a result but has proven to be incredibly durable over his career. Whether he is depth option or a starter next season for Toronto FC he is good investment for their backline.
The club also has the option to buy out one of its players, a mechanism that could surely be used on one of their defenders. Rumours in the past have indicated that Ahmed Kantari, who was certainly not the impact player that his salary dictated after being acquired in the summer transfer window, could be the odd man out.
Last season, despite the fact that the Colorado Rapids were amongst the league's worst teams in record, they only conceded 43 goals. That was 15 less than Toronto FC, and certainly due in no small part to the leadership of Moor.
It is no secret that the Rapids wanted to keep him, but evidently it appears Toronto convinced him to leave. It was even reported that Moor was offered a job with the Rapids after his playing career should he play there.
In the course of the week it appears Toronto have acquired two high level MLS defenders, and for once the state of the backline appears promising heading in the 2015 season. There is still work to be done, but the early results appear favourable to Toronto FC management.
UPDATED: Kurt Larson of the Toronto Sun is reporting that Sportsnet's information is not entirely correct.
Report of Moor deal premature, 'inaccurate': team management. He was in T.O. Took in Raps game. TFC in mix to sign him, a player in demand.— Kurtis Larson (@KurtLarSUN) December 12, 2015
There have, however, been confirmations that Moor has been in Toronto and is strongly considering Toronto as a possible future designation. But the deal, at this time, is not 100% completed according to Larson.