Toronto FC players continue to head south this winter. After Mark Bloom was traded to Atlanta United in a deal surrounding the expansions draft, it appears Will Johnson will be the next player to leave the club.
According to reports from Alicia DelGallo of the Orlando Sentinel, the Canadian international has agreed to a deal in principle with Orlando City. The 29-year-old Johnson is a free agent, and therefore free to sign with the club of his choice.
Johnson, considering his salary and the fact that other teams were likely to offer him more money, was always going to be a difficult player to retain. At times this season he said that he would like to test free agency, but did not shut the door on returning to Toronto FC in 2017.
The Toronto native has now played ten MLS seasons between the Chicago Fire, Real Salt Lake, Portland Timbers and Toronto FC. This past season he started 19 games for Toronto FC, scoring two goals and five assists. If this is in fact his last action with the club, he will best be remembered for his heroic extra time goal in the Voyageurs Cup final.
However, Johnson would be injured on that goal, an issue that plagued him throughout the season. In fact, Johnson lost out on a starting spot throughout most of the MLS Cup playoffs as a results of injuries. He came off the bench in the MLS Cup final.
The midfielder was being paid $395,333.33 in guaranteed compensation, so that is a significant amount of money being taken off of Toronto FC’s books. The club is likely to pursue another midfielder as a result, with reports that the club is pursuing an attacking midfielder surfacing as early as the end of season press conference.