MLS Insider: Tom Bogert

Toronto FC acquire Mark-Anthony Kaye in blockbuster trade from Colorado Rapids


  • TOR get: Mark-Anthony Kaye
  • COL get: Ralph Priso + $1.025 million in General Allocation Money + 2023 international roster spot + TFC's 2023 first-round SuperDraft pick

Toronto FC have acquired Canadian international midfielder Mark-Anthony Kaye from the Colorado Rapids in a blockbuster trade, the clubs announced Friday evening.

The Rapids will receive homegrown midfielder Ralph Priso, $1.025 million in General Allocation Money, a 2023 international roster spot and TFC's first-round pick in the 2023 SuperDraft. There is $775k guaranteed GAM split across this season and next, while $250k GAM comes in either 2023 or 2024 depending on Kaye’s roster status in 2023.

“We are very excited to add Mark to our team,” Toronto FC head coach and sporting director Bob Bradley said in a release. “Over the past five seasons Mark has established himself as one of the better two-way midfielders in the league. He’s an intelligent player who likes to be around the ball, a good passer, ball-winner, competitor and teammate. We wish Ralph all the best in Colorado. He’s a great young man with a bright future ahead of him.”

Kaye, 27, is a constant with the Canadian men's national team and spent the last year with the Rapids, appearing in 32 games total. He was acquired last summer in a trade with LAFC, where he began his MLS career. He has made 109 MLS appearances (13g/21a) and won the 2019 Supporters' Shield with the Black & Gold.

A 2019 MLS All-Star, Kaye is viewed among the league's best central midfielders and is likely heading to the Qatar 2022 World Cup with Les Rouges.

The total package reflects the going rate for All-Star-level MLS players, set by FC Dallas acquiring US men's national team winger Paul Arriola for $2 million GAM from D.C. United in January. Between the allocation money received, the other assets can be added up to around that value. The going rate for a full season of an international roster spot has been around $250,000 GAM, in addition to acquiring Priso.

“Ralph is one of the most talented, young midfielders in MLS,” said Rapids executive vice president & general manager Pádraig Smith. “We’re delighted to welcome him to the club and believe he can develop into a core piece of our team’s midfield with his skillset.”

Priso, 19, is a product of TFC's academy and has made 25 MLS appearances (12 starts) and notched 2g/2a. He retains his homegrown status in Colorado. Priso is a Canadian youth international.

A native of Toronto, Kaye returns home after spending a brief period in the club's academy and making more than 30 appearances with the club's second team before signing with Louisville City in the USL Championship. He also reunites with Bob Bradley, who he thrived under at LAFC. Bradley took over as TFC's head coach and sporting director this past winter after four years at LAFC.

“Mark played an important part in our team’s rise to the top of the West last season and was a model representative of our club off the pitch," Smith said. "We’re grateful to him for his contributions and wish him all the best in this next chapter of his career.”

Toronto are in the midst of a busy summer, though the Secondary Transfer Window just opened on Thursday. The Reds have already traded former Landon Donovan MLS MVP Alejandro Pozuelo to Inter Miami CF to open a DP spot and are reportedly ready to sign Italy international attacker Federico Bernardeschi as he departs Juventus. Superstar forward Lorenzo Insigne will soon debut, as will former Italy international defender Domenico Criscito.

Kaye joins the continued evolution with more expected this summer, including potentially moving on from center back Carlos Salcedo, which would open another DP spot. TFC currently sit seven points below the Eastern Conference's Audi MLS Cup Playoffs line after 18 matches played (5W-10L-3D record).

Colorado are also below the playoff line after finishing atop the Western Conference last year. They're seven points off the postseason pace after 17 matches (5W-8L-4D record). The Rapids are likely to be very busy this summer as well, with Kaye their first significant move.