The San Jose Earthquakes made official what had been swirling around the internet this morning — midfielder Ryan Johnson, allocation money, and an International Player roster slot have been traded to Toronto FC in exchange for midfielder Jacob Peterson, forward Alan Gordon, and defender Nana Attakora. While all three players are currently listed as “questionable” on the latest MLS injury report, both Peterson and Gordon should be available to play this Saturday when the Earthquakes meet the Crew in Columbus, Ohio.
Attakora is a two-time Canadian Under-20 National Team Player of the Year recipient and has made 56 appearances in five seasons with Toronto FC. The news that Attakora was on his way to the Earthquakes was first reported by cbsports.ca, with the fourth year defender confirming that he received a text message from former TFC teammate and current Quakes midfielder Sam Cronin that he was traded to San Jose. The defender has been capped once by the Canadian National Team, making his debut on January 31, 2010 against Jamaica. Attakora is currently rehabbing a troublesome quadriceps injury that has limited the 22-year old to just six appearances this season.
Peterson posted on his Twitter account earlier this morning that he was “On to greener pastures…”, which indicated that he was also part of Toronto head coach Aron Winter’s midsummer roster remodeling. Peterson played his college soccer at Indiana University, the same as Quakes midfielder Brad Ring, and has featured in the midfield for the Colorado Rapids and TFC during his six-year MLS career. With speed and an attacking style suited to playing on the right side, Peterson could be the answer at the unsettled right midfield spot in the Earthquakes line-up.
Reports surfaced earlier in the day that Gordon would welcome a return to California, after joining TFC earlier this year. Having already played for the Los Angeles Galaxy and Chivas USA, Gordon would join a rarified group of players that have suited up for all three California MLS teams — New Zealand’s Simon Elliott is one — if he is indeed traded to the Earthquakes. Gordon, an eight-year MLS veteran, provides another big body for head coach Frank Yallop to use at the forward position.
Johnson heads to Toronto just one game shy of making 100 appearances for the Earthquakes since coming to the team in 2008. He was the team MVP in 2009, and led the team in assists in 2010, but his production has dropped precipitously this season. While his skills were on full display during his recent appearances with Jamaica in the CONCACAF Gold Cup, he has had an uneven season so far in San Jose.
Looking at the numbers in the deal, using salary information provided by the MLS Players Association, the Earthquakes increased their payroll by just over $80,000 in prorated salary in acquiring the three Toronto players. Considering that MLS allocation money and an International Player roster slot were also included in the deal and the balance tips further in favor of TFC. Because financial details of the deal were not disclosed by the San Jose Earthquakes or MLS, the actual salary difference in today’s trade is unknown.