Darren O'Dea About to Exit Toronto FC
By Daniel Casey
In yet another move that suggests Toronto FC will be looking to bring in a big name player, the team announced ahead of their match with Sporting Kansas City on Saturday that defender Darren O’Dea had returned to Toronto to work out the details of a transfer away from MLS.
In a post-match interview manager Ryan Nelsen said that O’Dea has an offer from a Ukrainian team that was too good for him to turn away. In the same interview, Nelsen made clear what many had suggested was the real motivation to unload O’Dea, his $450k guaranteed compensation salary. O’Dea’s departure will also open up an international slot. Coupled with Danny Califf’s retirement, Toronto will have cleared a significant chunk of salary cap space that certainly has the rumor mill speculating that it’s to acquire a premier player such as Diego Forlan.
It’s unfortunate that O’Dea is leaving MLS. An immediate every match starter and captain for Toronto FC when he arrived in August of 2012, the 26 year-old O’Dea presented to the league a quality of defender that was lacking. Unfortunately, the Irish international joined a sinking ship and was not able to turn around Toronto’s fortunes over the 26 matches he played for them. Also, the contract given to O’Dea effectively hamstrung the team in its machinations to acquire suitable pieces to compliment the Irish defender.
The questions and concerns are now again the currency in Toronto. On the heels of the O’Dea transfer announcement, the team went out to face Sporting Kansas City and put in one of the worst displays of the season losing 3-0 and being put a man down. Toronto’s defense is in shambles. Scottish international Steven Caldwell took on the captain’s mantle, but one has to wonder if there is a lack of leadership on just on the pitch but in the clubhouse among the players with so much turnover. And finally, is the tantalizing signing of Diego Forlan blinding the team? Wouldn’t Toronto be better served by not signing a world class striker with perhaps a season and half left in him and instead adding proven journeymen players who can fill holes in the roster for several seasons to come?