With former Toronto FC captain Darren O’Dea in the process of finalizing a transfer to a club in Ukraine, a TFC squad on a four-game winless streak has lost a solid performer but is gaining a significant amount of cap space that can be used towards rebuilding the Reds with players selected by the recently installed regime.
“[The transfer is a] win-win for both parties,” TFC head coach Ryan Nelsen told MLSsoccer.com. “It obviously will give us some short-term pain, but, from our point of view, we have to look at the fact that Darren was the most expensive player in the entire league in terms of the salary cap.”
Given that the summer transfer window is now open, both Nelsen and TFC president and general manager Kevin Payne have spoken at length in recent weeks about the poor financial state that the Toronto roster was in when they inherited the squad prior to the current campaign.
Both had also spoken about the need to make tough decisions with the roster while stating that they have had to jettison players such as O’Dea, Terry Dunfield and Luis Silva that they would have liked to have kept had the club’s salary structure not been in such a dire predicament.
“The decision to give that contract [to O’Dea] probably wasn’t the smartest decision ever made, but it wasn’t Darren’s fault,” Nelsen stated. “Obviously, you can make that kind of money elsewhere, but in terms of this league and how the salary cap works, that money really hamstrings what you can do. So it gives us relief now to start bringing in players. We can bring in three or four more players that will help us to strengthen the squad.”
“This is a positive step for the club,” Nelsen added. “The short term pain will be tempered by the long term cap relief. Obviously in an ideal world we wouldn’t have made the moves that we have had to make. But the club has been burdened by certain contracts and it is not the players fault at all. You have to have some balance when you put an MLS squad together.”
While most reports surrounding the team have linked Toronto with offensive players — Uruguayan star Diego Forlán and Argentine forward Maximiliano Urruti are two prominent rumored targets — the departure of O’Dea and the recent retirement of central defender Danny Califf suggest that TFC will now need to reinforce their defensive positions as well.
“Obviously these moves aren’t off the cuff,” Nelsen said. “Any move, whether it is Silva or anyone else, everything is planned and organized. There are no off the cuff decisions. It is all done with an idea to what will be done in the long term. Of course, we have been looking at the fullback positions as well as the attacking positions.”