Toronto FC eyeing No. 1 pick

Mo Johnston (ISIphotos.com) 

                                                                                            Photo by ISIphotos.com

Toronto FC currently holds the No. 2 and No. 4 picks in the MLS Draft, but that may not be enough for TFC director of soccer Mo Johnston's liking.

According to sources, Toronto is in discussions with the Seattle Sounders about moving up to the No. 1 overall pick. It is unclear just how receptive Seattle is to the idea, but TFC could wind up with the top two picks in the draft.

If Toronto does succeed in landing the No. 1 pick, it wouldn't mark the first time Johnston has had the top pick in the draft. In 2006, when he was Red Bulls head coach, Johnston traded the No. 5 and Jason Hernandez to Chivas USA for the No. 1 pick, which he used on Marvell Wynne. In 2007, Johnston drafted Maurice Edu No. 1 overall.

So who might Johnston be targeting at No. 1? The core group of potential top picks includes Steve Zakuani, Stefan Frei, Sam Cronin and Omar Gonzalez. Zakuani is unlikely given TFC's wealth of forwards and Gonzalez is unlikely because sources tell me TFC isn't sold on him.

That leaves Frei and Cronin, the two players regarded by most scouts as the most ready to step in and play in MLS. With Frei looking like he could have the most long-term value as a future European transfer target, Johnston may see him as an investment, as well as potential starter. He could also draft Frei and start the bidding to a player several teams strongly covet.

If Toronto keeps it's No. 2 pick, you could see TFC grab Wake Forest midfielder Sam Cronin and shop him around. Cronin is highly coveted by several teams.

So why would Seattle trade down from No. 1 say to No. 4? Steve Zakuani, the No. prospect coming into the draft, has struggled at the Combine, leaving Seattle to decide what it will do. Stefan Frei and Sam Cronin are the next best options and Seattle already boasts a wealth of talent at goalkeeper and midfielder Stephen King at Cronin's position. Seattle could essentially move down to No. 4 and still grab one of the four previously mentioned top prospects, while potentially picking up some allocation money or another draft pick.

What would you do? If you were Seattle would you trade the pick or stay put and draft Zakuani? If you were Toronto would you bother to move up?

Share your thoughts below.

This entry was posted in MLS Draft 2009, MLS- Chicago Fire, MLS- Houston Dynamo, MLS- Toronto FC. Bookmark the permalink.

24 Responses to Toronto FC eyeing No. 1 pick

  1. cbr says:

    i wouldnt bother moving up if i am TFC. Barrett is servicable and DeRo can play up top too. i think everyone is assuming their DP gets used up on a forward as well.

    Their midfield IMO is set (even with the loss of Edu)

    as funny as it sounds i think TFC is best suited for the Super Liga and Concacaff Champions League b/c of their depth.

    Ives, any word on Dunivant? i would suspect TFC is looking to move him and he could be a useful throw in to any major deal in the works. As RBNY fan i’d love to have him back

  2. Ives says:

    Everybody’s a comedian (though ANM’s time traveler comment really was funny.)

    What can I say. 1996 and 1997 were good years. Oh to be in college again.

  3. The Athority says:

    cbr,

    Ever get the feeling that Dunnivant has a bit of “John O’Brien” in him.

    He’s so talented, but gets passed around MLS like a joint at Woodstock. Then he has all of these “muscle pulls” that normal people recover in 2-3 weeks, but keeps him out 4 months.

  4. John says:

    Mo makes all these deals but in the end, the team often appears to be a polyglot of parts that don’t fit well together. Frei makes sense for TFC because Sutton has had concussion problems. But why go through the effort to get the first pick in order to get a player that would likely be a reserve?

    As for Seattle, if they truly think Frei is gifted, they should choose him. Keller ain’t going to play forever. And rookie MLS GKs usually stink–they benefit from a year of sitting on the bench, playing USOC matches, seeing MLS attackers. Heck–Seitz was supposed to be the second coming, still has tremendous support and admiration from many yet can’t get ahead of Nick Rimando. Seattle should NOT draft based upon if they think they can get a player who helps them right away. That kind of thinking leads to bad picks.

  5. doug says:

    i thought toronto fc was trading out of this draft? this is quite a change in strategy. i really don’t see anyone warranting the effort. the top 5 guys are all prospects with uncertain star potential. with sutton and edwards in house, frei isn’t really needed by TFC either – but maybe he can finally but the team it’s grass field at BMO down the road?

  6. wendel says:

    to The Athority i believe he broke his leg this season, not a muscle pull.

    to cbr i dont think tfc is really that deep. their biggest problem remains their defense which hasnt gotten any better with julius james gone. also consider that wynne could be transfered at some point.

    i agree that their midfield is largely set except for the left wing position. i see smith as the one more likely to start there but hes far from having the position locked. dunnivant has played up there before as has ricketts but hes more effective on the right.

    another huge problem with tfc is the number of players who regularly see international duty. you have brennan, derosario, marshall, harmse, velez and guevara (if he stays) getting regular call ups. also wynne and barrett could see call ups. you dont want a situation like last year when tfc was missing 9 starters against chivas.

  7. Mike says:

    Good Lord.

    I told everyone who would listen months ago that we don’t need speculative draft picks (who, if they work out, will just leave for pastures greener) – we need real, proven players so we can get into contention.

    Mo, aren’t you listening to me?

    The restraining order only says 100 metres, you can still hear me yelling for sure!

  8. Aljarov says:

    TFC dont need help in goal or at DM. Why would MO EVER consider moving up for those positions? We need CENTRAL DEFENDERS!

  9. Sterlinho says:

    To John:

    Seattle already has a back up keeper in Chris Eylander. He played at University of Washington and then with the USL-1 Seattle Sounders. He was the 2008 US Open Cup player of the tournament.

    If Seattle were to draft Frei, it would be for trade bait, which is the same thing as trading the pick.

  10. Steve says:

    Am reminded (mildly) of Ditka giving up his whole draft for Ricky Williams that year. You just sort of get the feeling that Mo Johnston just doesn’t really know how to build a successful side in MLS.

  11. bgnewf says:

    “Draft Schmaft”!

    The draft is of less importance to us than any other team in MLS due to the fact that Americans we draft are counted as foreign players. Trading down to me and taking a flyer on O’Brien White makes a hell of a lot more sense than it does to trade up and get yet another young American player. TFC’s future has to be a core of Canadians if we want to be a solid upper echelon franchise in this league. Yes Mo has done pretty well in previous drafts here and elsewhere but there is way too much emphasis on this than there needs to be.

    Package the first two picks up for a good centre back and keep the third one for White and Mo has had a good day.

  12. TFC OZZ - Disgruntled TFC Fan says:

    “TFC dont need help in goal or at DM. Why would MO EVER consider moving up for those positions? We need CENTRAL DEFENDERS!”

    Because Robinson is old as hell, and although Sutton comes up with some world class saves, he also lets in a ton of shitty last minute goals

  13. The Athority says:

    Wendel,

    Dunnivant did fracture his ankle. Anyone can do that and be out for the season. This is what is weird.

    He fractured his ankle in practice, played 4 games before he realized it, then was out for the year.

    Very “O’Brienesque”.

  14. Tim says:

    TFC also has Edwards in goal, as well as Sutton, so i dont see them drafting another goalie, as they have a few kids in their system as well (Monsalve, etc)

    We need defense.
    We could loose Marvell Wynne at any moment, and Marco Velez is garbage. We need a big center half. I dont trust Harmse to do anything except carry the water and towels.

  15. Richard, UK says:

    Frei is definitely a player who would potentially garner a transfer fee of around $4 million, the same as Guzan. He’s European too, so that’s extra appeal.

    $4 million is alot of money to any MLS team, so why not go for the player with the highest guarantee of a quality return?

  16. theskillzthatthrillz says:

    Seattle will not be taking a goalie in this or any soon draft. Keller will play a coupla years…. then Marcus Hannaman will come home and take over for a few more years and then if Eylander is still around it will be his turn. Think Keller—Hannaman—Eylander… No goalies drafted for Seattle unless they will be traded asap. My $.02

  17. understood says:

    ANYbody who says ANY mls team is so stocked at ANY given field position that they cant use an upgrade is fooling themselves…plus with the nature of the sport and how often teams have to deal with injuries i think teams especially with their first selection should just take the best talent available and shouldnt draft for need until they get to their later picks

  18. Eugene says:

    If I were Seattle, I wouldn’t trade down to #4 and then risk losing the guy they want. Trade down to #2 plus #13 and make Mo PAY OUT for the #1 pick. If Seattle traded #1 for too little, their fans would be right to be upset — and what’s wrong with taking Cronin? Stephen King isn’t locking down any position in only his 2nd pro year, it’s always good to have competition.

  19. VPjr says:

    I think TFC’s interest in Frei is very real.

    It would not surprise me in the least if TFC picks Frei (who is Gen Adidas and would not count against the cap) and trade or release Brian Edwards (who does count against the cap and counts as a Senior Roster player). it would be a very smart trade, especially since I hear TFC thinks Frei is as good or better than Edwards right now.

    I’m no fan of the draft and would rather see proven players brought in exchange for draft picks but if Mo can manage to get both Cronin and Frei, I’d say it’s a job well done (and those are very hard words for me to utter in Mo Johnston’s direction).

    In response to Tim’s post about TFC having young GKs in their system, that’s actually not true anymore. Monsalve is in Europe trailing for a variety of teams. I’m not sure we’ll see him back in 2009

  20. Joamiq says:

    Uh, why would TFC have to trade up to #1 to get Cronin and Frei? Can’t they probably get both of them at 2 and 4? Ives, you had them going 3rd and 9th in your last mock draft…

  21. alex says:

    If Mo Johnston does this, i want him run out of town.

  22. Ossington Mental Youth says:

    Some interesting responses, is it out of order to think Mo will trade for the first round pick then trade it off or use it and trade off the player?

    If he does use and retain his draft picks i suspect he has some other cbs coming in as its no secret that we need some strong Cbs

  23. doug says:

    cbc.ca is reporting that san jose signed peter byers from montreal impact (USL). this kid has star potential! toronto should have signed him and traded out of the draft. get a young star plus some veteran talent for draft picks. that would have been a winning draft!

  24. Kryten says:

    The reason you trade up one spot (-even if you are certain the team ahead of you won’t take the guy you want), is to prevent another team from jumping (trading) ahead of you to grab your target.

    Not saying what anyone should do, but that’s the reasoning…