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Toronto FC shuffles the deck
by Ridge Mahoney, July 15th, 2008 7AM

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[MLS] Regardless of where their team winds up in the MLS standings, Toronto FC's duo of John Carver and Mo Johnston has set the pace regarding recent transactions. Filing discovery claims on strikers Paul Dickov and Darren Huckerby before anyone else yielded a contract with Dickov and a trade with San Jose for the rights to Huckerby, for which TFC received allocation money and an international player slot.

According to a source, Dickov has signed an 18-month deal that will pay him approximately $500,000, which means he'll earn the maximum salary or close to it next year, and about half of that for the remainder of this season. His acquisition is expected to be announced Tuesday, or as soon as there is a roster slot available. TFC waived Andrea Lombardo last week but still needs to trim a player to make room for Dickov.

Toronto also still holds the rights via allocation to Brian McBride and has yet to conclude a deal by which it will trade him to Chicago, which is where he wants to play. He will be eligible to play Tuesday, when the U.S. secondary transfer window opens, and no one would be surprised if, sooner or later, MLS instructs TFC to either put McBride on its 18-man roster, trade him, or lose its allocation claim to him. This is a single-entity league, remember.

In the allocation process, teams are ranked in reverse order of results in the past 30 games - when the allocation claim is filed -- and have the option of claiming an available player, or passing. Toronto moved into the top spot when San Jose, at the top of the list as an expansion team, recklessly chased former Rapids striker Peguero Jean Philippe, who arrived from Scandanavia with bad knees, suffered internal knee derangement, and is on season-ending IR.

Though he's 35, Dickov is a pesky, relentless forward who adds yet another dimension to a TFC attack that already features speed (Jeff Cunningham) and strength (Danny Dichio) up front, and myriad midfield talents in wingers Rohan Ricketts and Laurent Robert, playmaker Amado Guevara, and central linkmen Maurice Edu and Carl Robinson.

A former Scottish youth international - he played for Scotland against the USA and Claudio Reyna at the FIFA U-16 world championship in 1989 - Dickov scored 97 goals in 278 league appearances for eight teams, and comes to MLS after being loaned by Manchester City to Crystal Palace and Blackpool.

Huckerby is supposedly on money similar to that of Dickov but the length of his contract isn't known. He scored 85 goals in 352 league appearances for nine clubs, the last of which, Norwich, named him to its all-time team. At 32, he's three years younger than Dickov, and has yet to train with San Jose, which he visited last week after a trip to Toronto and soon afterwards expressed a dislike for the artificial turf at BMO Field.

Sealy has scored 28 goals for Kansas City since it drafted him out of Wake Forest in 2005. The acquisitions of Claudio Lopez and Josh Wolff this season edged him off the Wizards' roster.

To make room for Huckerby and Sealy, the Quakes waived midfielder Joe Vide, who had been left exposed by New York in the expansion draft. He played five games for the Quakes.

 



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