TORONTO — Toronto FC waited a long time to finally land Maximiliano Urruti earlier this summer, but they weren’t willing to wait for him to develop into the player they need him to be.
TFC head coach Ryan Nelsen told reporters on Tuesday that the deal to ship the 22-year-old Argentine forward to the Portland Timbers in exchange for forward Bright Dike as well as a first-round pick in the 2015 MLS SuperDraft and allocation money was done largely because the team needs immediate results next season and have money to spend on other, more proven players.
“Maxi is a really good player, but it was just a deal that we couldn’t turn down,” Nelsen said. “We’ve seen Maxi for three weeks and we kind of knew what we had with him. A lot of teams have just scouted him. But when you’ve had him in house you can see everything. Maxi is still a young man who has to develop and get to know this league. It’s probably best that he can be with a team that can be patient with him.
“We’re in a situation next year where we don’t really need to be patient,” Nelsen added. “We are in a position where we are not salary cap tied and not DP tied.”
As for the newest addition to his roster, Nelsen was quick to admit that Dike is unlikely to see many minutes in Toronto’s midweek fixture against the Chicago Fire on Wednesday (7:30 pm ET, MLS Live), even if he fits a need up top now that he has nearly recovered from a torn ACL during the preseason
“Bright is only seven months off an ACL injury, so we will be careful with him,” Nelsen said. “That is an incredibly quick period of time if you compare that to other people [who have that injury]. He is here for the long term, so I don’t want to throw him into the hard rigors of MLS when he has only played 80 minutes with the reserve team.”
“The decision to bring in Dike wasn’t a decision based on what we need for this Wednesday or Saturday,” he added. “He is an important piece of the puzzle and I want to expose him to the fans when he is completely 100 percent ready.”
With Friday looming as the day when all teams will lock in their rosters for the remainder of the season, Nelsen admitted that TFC could still make further moves before the end of the week if the move is the right fit.
“To tell you the truth, we are receiving a lot of phone calls, which is good,” he said. “We have been getting a lot of options for a lot of our players. If it improves the team on and off the field – because character and what happens in the locker room are extremely important – then yeah [we’ll make a move].”