I don't know how you guys feel about this, but Johnston says this will be the team's last transaction for a while. If you like the current squad, you're happy. You're probably as attached as someone can be to a team that has turned over half its roster since opening day, so you don't want to see anyone else come or go.
But if you're looking for a big name player to arrive in Toronto, you're disappointed. A few times this season Mo has hinted that he might sign a Designated Player, opening the possiblity that a soccer celebrity like (insert once-dominant but now almost-over-the-hill soccer star's name here_____) might play at BMO Field.
*For those of you new to soccer/MLS -- like I was a few months ago -- a Designated Player (or DP) is someone an MLS team can sign for as much money as it can afford to pay him, knowing that only a fraction of his pay will count against the salary cap. You may have heard of the first guy signed under this rule. David Beckham. He's so famous I don't even need to link his name.*
Anyway, every team is allowed to sign one of these guys. New York has two because they traded for one. Chicago has one, but most teams -- like Toronto -- have none.
Not that there haven't been rumors.
Before the season I heard Johnston was going to sign Portuguese legend Luis Figo.
A couple weeks ago another rumour surfaced: Italian star Gennaro Gattuso was ready to join Toronto FC.
Ran that one by Johnston and he nearly laughed me off the phone. Gattuso was coming to Toronto, all right -- to visit and schmooze with fans -- but forget about him playing here. That's a $10 million a year player, and Toronto's not trying to spend that kind of money yet.
Two weeks ago at practice I tried to start a rumour that Johnston was about to sign himself as Toronto's DP.
Made perfect sense to me. He's a three-time MLS all-star who still scrimmages with the team, and it would have been great to get the coach to talk about himself in the third person.
"Look, this Johnston's a quality player and he's shown he can score goals in this league. Would I like to have Ronaldinho? Of course I would. But listen: Johnston can play."
Yeah, that didn't work either.
But I really like the idea of Toronto acquiring a Scottish forward.
Not necessarily because they need the help up front. What do I care? I'm not a fan, I'm a reporter. I don't need the team to win. I need them to be interesting (though winning does tend to boost interest....). Besides, Jeff Cunningham and Danny Dichio are scoring. Twenty-year-old North York resident Andrea Lombardo has shown he's got the strength and skills to play in MLS. I haven't seen Collin Samuel play a real game yet, but he looks the part in practice.
Still, I'd love to see Toronto sign a guy like Kris Boyd.
Again, this has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with what Toronto FC really wants, needs or can afford right now. Please don't let this start a "Kris Boyd really is coming to Toronto" movement. I don't even know how many years remain on his contract with Rangers. This is pure fantasy.
Now that I've cleared that up, I think he'd fit in well here, and here's why:
He's a native Scot, just like Johnston.
He plays for Rangers, like Johnston did in the mid 1980s.
And he can score -- five goals in nine games with Scotland's national team, and 101 goals in 202 games in Scotland's Premier League. He's got what soccer people call "quality."
But that's fan stuff.
The payoff for me would come when he finally signs a deal and I write the story about a Scottish player coming to Toronto. Next day it runs under the headline:
TFC SIGNS ROWDY RODDY STRIKER
Yeah, that's a lot of work for one punchline, but just picture it...