After a summer of hunting, Toronto FC finally has their guy. The team has been open about the fact that they were looking for another attacking midfielder player to complete their 2016 roster. Their search was global as they considered options in North America, Europe and the Americas.
But their search also came with some terms: their precarious salary cap situation. This meant that Toronto either needed to be on a rather cheap deal. It became apparent that the best way to do this would be through adding a player on loan.
The club officially announced today that Armando Cooper is that player, acquired on loan. The 28-year-old from Panama has been playing in his native land for Arabe Unido. He will officially join the team once his paperwork is processed. His loan deal has an option to buy during the winter window if things work out with Toronto FC.
"Armando is a versatile midfielder who can play multiple positions and add depth to our roster," said Toronto General Manager Tim Bezbatchenko in a press release. "His range of experience with both club and country will be an asset as we continue our push for the playoffs. We are pleased to get this deal finalised and integrate Armando into our group."
Cooper’s ability to play multiple positions is one of the big reasons why he drew Toronto FC’s interest. Of course, the main position Toronto FC were looking to fill was central attacking midfielder. However, he can also play right wing and right back as well.
The Panamanian has played in 74 matches for his country, scoring 5 goals. He has spent most of his career with Arabe Unido, but has also played in Argentina, Romania and in Germany. He was on Toronto FC’s discovery list.
His deal took a long time for Toronto FC, as he was a player who they watched throughout the window. However, the deal took a while to get done from a details perspective, to the point where Toronto wasn’t sure if it would get done at all.
Cooper will join Tsubasa Endoh, Jonathan Osorio and Jay Chapman in the attacking midfield pool. Recently it has been Chapman who has taken a hold of the position, and it will be interesting see whether or not Cooper displaces him.
His ability at right back may also be important, as both Mark Bloom and Steven Beitashour have picked up knocks lately and missed time. As such he may fill Toronto FC’s two biggest pressing positional needs.