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.
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.