TFC offloads new signing Urruti to Timbers in exchange for Dike and first-round pick

MaxUrrutiTorontoFC (TorontoFC)

By DAN KARELL

Toronto FC management spent more than six months pursuing Maximiliano Urruti, a former Argentina Under-20 National Team member and a budding star in his country. On August 16, the Canadian club finally got their man, signing Urruti to a contract on a free transfer.

Now, less than a month after the signing, TFC’s front office has traded Urruti to the Portland Timbers in return for forward Bright Dike. Dike is on his way back from a torn ACL suffered in February, and was in the 18 on Saturday in the Timbers’ 4-0 victory against TFC. (UPDATE: Both teams confirmed the deal, with an international roster spot through December 31, 2013 and Urruti going to Portland and Dike, allocation money, and a first-round pick in the 2015 MLS SuperDraft going to Toronto.)

The move comes just four days after TFC parted ways with former General Manager and President Kevin Payne, who was the man behind the Urruti signing, working all spring and summer to sign the Argentine striker. Since joining TFC, Urruti had yet to start and had played only a combined 37 minutes off the bench in two matches.

Numerous reports in Canada believe that the move is meant to clear up international spots, with Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment CEO Tim Leiweke expected to fill the TFC’s two remaining designated player spots. Matias Laba currently fills one of them as a young DP.

Meanwhile, the Notre Dame product, Dike, scored six goals in his time with the Timbers, including five last season in nine starts. The 26-year-old American-born forward also has played internationally in the past, representing Nigeria one time in a friendly match against Venezuela and another time in a non-FIFA sanctioned friendly against Catalonia, scoring a goal to boot.

The MLS roster freeze goes into effect on Friday at 5pm, after which no trades may occur.

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What do you think of this trade? Surprised TFC would offload Urruti so quickly? Do you believe TFC got a fair deal with Dike in return? Do you see Urruti succeeding alongside countryman Diego Valeri in Portland?

Share your thoughts below.

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55 Responses to TFC offloads new signing Urruti to Timbers in exchange for Dike and first-round pick

  1. Steve says:

    Dike will always have a special place in my heart. He poured his heart and soul into every match and was a blast to watch. That being said, his best skill was being physical, he has never had great footwork, and while he can blast a shot pretty well they rarely went on frame. In summation: heart is sad, brain is happy.

    • Paul Atkinson says:

      This seems like unmitigated win for PTFC.

      So why am I not happy? I was really looking forward to seeing the big man take his place up front for Portland. Last season Dike was sidelined in favor of Boyd, and once we brought him back he looked great. This should have been his year but for the injury. I’ll be wishing Dike well in Toronto.

      Have fun up there and don’t forget to pound the Flounders for us.

      • Ooh Klinsi you shouldn't have says:

        Agreed. Many people dont know that before the injury Dike was capped by Nigeria..

  2. Knuckles says:

    The jury is out on Urruti in MLS, but on the face of it this is a GREAT deal for PDX.

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      Maybe, but when you trade the marquee signing a month in after two sub appearances, and fire the executive Ahab who chased his white whale all season, TFC’s brass seems to have reached a definitive opinion on the wisdom of his signing.

      • Knuckles says:

        Clearly they have, but the opinion of the TFC brass has proven to be, shall we say, rather suspect over the years. Payne, as much as I dislike the guy, at least understands soccer. MLSE/TFC brass have shown absolutely zero acumen in that regard.

        • The Imperative Voice says:

          Your argument would imply TFC got it right signing him and wrong trading him but to me his history, eg, top years of 5 or 7 goals, suggests he was more of a diceroll that didn’t come out well.

          If you wanted to criticize TFC for the trade I’d complain about the injured Dike in exchange. Right decision wrong player.

          TFC is a great fanbase with awful management.

          • prizby says:

            7 goals with the majority of playing time coming from off the bench; got to look at the talent he was behind for so long

  3. jonk says:

    Haha, never change Toronto. Never change.

  4. MLSfan says:

    Queue the carnival music for TFC’s merry-go-round of employment.

  5. Scott A says:

    Chivas USA/DC United/Toronto FC

  6. Javier says:

    I really hope Toronto gets their act together. They have great fans that deserve a winning team. Tim Lieweke did some good things in LA hopefully he can change things around for Toronto. I’m actually a Galaxy fan but speaking as a soccer fan I would like to see Toronto succeed on the field.

  7. Eric K says:

    What in the world is going on at TFC? What are Vancouver and Montreal doing to succeed that Toronto seems to NOT do? Impact and Whitecaps are poised to make the playoffs early in their MLS histories whereas Toronto hasn’t done a thing except drop good players and play horribly(even as a DC United supporter, that’s saying something).

    • CSD says:

      Whitecaps made the playoffs last year. There is a good shot that next year TFC will once again be the only team playing in the league to have never made the playoff. They can still say next year at least one other team on the MLS website hasn’t made playoffs (NYC). Their futility is monumental.

  8. Smith says:

    I love this. Every day TFC brings the laughs. They make the Charie Stillitano – era Metrostars look like they had it together. These guys are the best!

    • BrianK says:

      Smith,….vey funny. One of the best posts in a long time. Saddly for TFC supporters, it is very true.

  9. david kent says:

    driftwood almost gone eks next, reds are after #10 torres,the best young player in mls by far

  10. david kent says:

    driftwood almost gone,torres to come

  11. bgix (@xbgix) says:

    Wow.

    I imagine the PDX folks look at this a little like our (Seattle) EJ signing, when we had to give up Lamar Neagle a bit. Dike was always a guy I feared a bit as a Sounder fan (mostly because he was a large guy unafraid to collide frequently with ours) but Urruti is a definite upgrade.

    We eventually got Neagle back, so it is all good for us. I wonder if the Timbers fans will pine for Dike, even while loving the FO’s move for Urruti?

    • jon says:

      you just have to relate everything to the flounders dont you? no wonder you are the most disliked fans in the league

    • Quit whining about soccer in the US says:

      I have been rooting for the Sounders for over 30 years, can I be the most hated ?

      • Scott A says:

        I’ve heard so many Sounders fans say things like that. Someone’s lying…I’ve seen those pre-MLS crowds for that different team with the same name.

        • bgix (@xbgix) says:

          And I’ve heard PDX fans use “Flounder” and (Sounders fans are the) “Most hated fans in the league” so many times, that it is that it has become a joke unto itself. It is as classic as the “ACES was invented in **** (anywhere but portland)” joke. That it seems that the true test of being a Portland fan is not how much they love the Timbers, but how much they hate all things Seattle.

          • Scott A says:

            Silly Cascadia. By the way, keep up the lord’s work with sports club stats bgix.

          • Alexander Tennent says:

            Actually, the Flounder, er Sounder fans are the ones who take our chants and twist them around to mock us during the games. I’d say that qualifies as putting hate of your rival above the love of your team.

            • bgix (@xbgix) says:

              One Chant. “onward rose city”, unless you think we stole “build a bonfire” of course (snicker). And to be honest, we never sing our version of “something something rose city” until you sing it first, so there’s that.

              Let me be the first to apologize if we hurt your feelings, though. I would hate it if someone took something of ours (like our name) and mangled the spelling to something uncomplimentary. That would just be mean.

    • Quit whining about soccer in the US says:

      Please.

  12. Mitch says:

    Welcome to the MLS, where you can sign a contract and move halfway around the world to be traded inside a month. I find this disgraceful.

  13. Smith says:

    The only thing funnier would have been signing Diego Forlon & thentrading him to Chivas for draft picks!

    These guys are the best!

  14. Jubez says:

    Apparently they are freeing up spots for the 20 some odd million they have available for “big-time” DPs. At least that is what the local media are reporting.

  15. Patty Sajak says:

    Don’t worry about it, the Big Timmy got 26 million from mlse to go sign 2 expiring la liga/serie A stars and over pay them with overpaid contracts that will be all part of the big plan in suckering back any fans that haven’t been associated with the chirade of the past few *cough 7* years. There is a reason they delayed the SSH re-ups until at least January…

  16. Quit whining about soccer in the US says:

    I have always been surprised the Dike has not made his way. At least as a backup who gets playing time.

  17. Mike R says:

    It’s simple, he just found out Toronto is in Canada, and who wants ton play in Canada?

  18. OZNE says:

    CONFUSED!!! FRUSTRATED!!! FRUSTRATED!!! CONFUSED!!!NOTHING SHORT OF LIONEL MESSI WILL GET ME TO RENEW…THE HACKS ON THE FIELD AT THE MOMENT ARE NOT MUCH BETTER THAN WATCHING THE CSL (SAVE FOR OSORIO)!!!

  19. JoeW says:

    Kevin Payne signed Urruti. Payne and Lieweke were in a power struggle. Lieweke didn’t like Urruti b/c it wasn’t his signing. Now that Payne is gone, that made Urruti dead meat…so he’s gone too. I wouldn’t be surprised if Nellie ends up being shown the door (but not in an actual firing…maybe a veteran “advisor” is brought in…someone with a name and cache…like the Ruud Gullit signing in LA) so Nellie realizes he’s being micromanaged and chooses to quit.

  20. Sean says:

    Im happy for Bright. Would have loved to see him in a PTFC shirt again but He needs playing time.
    When Bright went on loan with LA Blue he was so strong the Timbers brought Him back early. Only issue with Dike is he’s too much like Valencia but without the technical ability. I hope it works out for both players.

  21. Rafavic says:

    I understand that Urruti was not your player but why would you trade him for an injured one? I seriously doubt anyone was knocking on PDX’s door for him. Can someone please tell the FO’s of Toronto and Chivas to stop drinking out of the same water cooler because its poisoned. Not a fan or hater of any of these teams but I hate when teams have fans that want to support you but in turn you give them every reason not too.

  22. Pablo says:

    does the player have any say about being traded? Why do so many trades happen in the MLS? This does not happen in the rest of the football world.

    Also, if a player has no say about being traded then why would a player risk coming to MLS? Lets say you are a player from another country and you sign with Red Bulls. You bring your family over, settle in and buy a place to live etc. Then the club can say? Hey buddy…you are traded to Houston. And the player can’t do anything about it?

    Geez. Why would any player join MLS?

    • RAMONE says:

      So, Urruti is 22. Pretty unlikely he has a wife of 15 years and a bunch of middle school children in North America with him. Dike is 26 and makes $60k. These guys are not buying houses … maybe a condo if they really think they are going to stick with a club for 5+ years (but heck, how many soccer players worldwide stay in one place that long really?).

      Perhaps in sports (NBA, MLB, NFL, NHL) where guys Urruti’s age sign for $5 million may not worry too much about dropping a half million into a home and if they get traded a few months later then, meh, they are out a few thousand dollars in closing costs and move on. If you think MLS players are buying homes with the same degree of abandon (or really many are buying and not renting in the first place), then you simply don’t see the reality. The players know better and I am sure Urruti was told by both the league and his new teammates not to get too comfortable (though surely nobody expected this quick of a revolving door).

      Not all trades go down this way either. Will Johnson was given a chance to voice an opinion and chose Portland which worked out. I don’t mean to completely discount your thesis (being told you get to move across the country is never easy whether you are a soccer player or a middle manager in a large company) but they know what they are getting into, the ones who won’t accept this do play elsewhere (Mix Diskerud) and for god sake they get to be professional athletes for a living as long as their bodies let them – what a freaking great job!

      Could be worse, Urruti is said to have left Argentina because his former club didn’t pay him which is arguably worse than getting paid and having to move.

  23. Cam says:

    Two players who each have a different upside. Urruti probably has an ego and doesn’t want to toil in that Toronto mess, and Dike realizes that Ryan Johnson has solidified his place as a starter.

    Toronto gets a player who has proven he can score goals for a bottom half of the table team, and Portland gets a player with a bright future who can develop under Porter.

    I’m a Timbers fan and I’ll definitely miss Dike, but I see why the two clubs AND the two players would want to go forward with this trade.