If you've been following potential player movements the last few days, then you know that former U.S. national teams standout Brian McBride is finished at Fulham and ready to return to Major League Soccer.
He hasn't disguised his desire to play for the Fire, which is reasonable given that he grew up in Arlington Heights, Ill.
Thing is, Toronto FC has his MLS rights and if Mo Johnston has his way, they won't come cheap.
"We're looking for something big (in return for McBride's rights)," Johnston said during today's practice. And after talking all season about the team's need for a high scoring striker, Johnston hinted that TFC might try to keep McBride (30 goals in 95 national team games) for themselves.
Either way, Johnston says he plans to take his time and hold out for a significant payoff, whether it's McBride, another player or salary cap space.
"Fortunately for us we've got the number one slot," Johnston said. "We're sitting on a pot of gold at the moment."
After juggling coaching and GM duties all last season you had to wonder how long Johnston would be satisfied with just one job.
Not long, apparently.
GolTV announced today that Johnston is joining their news and analysis show, "Extra Time."
The show is expanding from 30 minutes to an hour, and Johnston is the centrepiece of a segment called "Mo Johnston, Unplugged," where, according to a GolTV press release he will "provide viewers with analysis and commentary on all the news and highlights involving Toronto FC and Major League Soccer."
So we have a guy employed by TFC/MLS providing "commentary" about news from TFC/MLS. We'll have to see how it plays out, but somehow I can't envision Johnston ripping Carver, whom he hired, or any of the players, whom he acquired, on the air, no matter how badly they might screw up.
Try to picture it:
Lee Godfrey -- Another goalless game by Carl Robinson. Mo, did you think he'd step up his offensive game a little more this year?
Mo -- He's a huge disappointment, Lee. When he first signed a lot of people thought he'd be the best midfielder in the league, but so far I don't see it. If TFC was smart they'd trade him for draft picks before it's too late.
Lee -- So then why don't you do it, Mo?
Mo -- I'm working on certain things, Lee. Trust me.
Before we continue, let's remember that the previous exchange was COMPLETELY hypothetical. Not bashing any one player or Mo himself. Just highlighting the kind of analysis we definitely won't see when Mo moves to the TV studio
But what else would you expect? It's a blurry line between press and PR when you're covering soccer. Cheering in the press box isn't the norm, but it's not unusual in MLS. It happened often enough in Columbus that Shawn Mitchell, a reporter from the Columbus Dispatch apologized to me for the local media's cheerleading.
When so much of the soccer media is composed of homers, it's not surprising when the home team starts infiltrating the local press.
Understand that I'm not mad at Mo for taking the gig. We all have to get paid, so you might as well get paid doing something you love.
And I've certainly got no beef with GolTV.
They know what they're getting.
The news release simply said they hired Johnston for analysis.
They never said it would be objective.
-- Morgan Campbell