Toronto FC announced Wednesday that it has sent forward Ryan Johnson and goalkeeper Milos Kocic to Portland in exchange for the Timbers' first round pick (third overall) in the 2013 MLS SuperDraft, along with backup 'keeper Joe Bendik and allocation money. Follow GOAL.COM CANADA on Twitter
The deal had been whispered about in recent days after new TFC president and general manager Kevin Payne mentioned a transaction to season ticket holders at a team event earlier this month. Payne told the fans that a trade had been agreed upon but that he could not confirm the details before the league made the deal official.
Johnson, 28, heads to the west coast after a productive stint in Toronto that saw him score 18 times in 62 appearances across all competitions. The Jamaican international had a knack for dramatic goals in his year-and-a-half with the Reds, with his March 17th strike in Seattle winning MLS goal of the week and nominated as one of the best of the year.
He performed outside of the league as well, scoring five times in the 2011-12 CONCACAF Champions League. Johnson was also the recipient of the 2012 George Gross Memorial Trophy, awarded to the most valuable player in the Canadian Championship.
For 27-year-old Kocic, the move to Portland represents another opportunity to solidify a starting spot in MLS. The Serbian netminder played the majority of games for Toronto in 2012 after regular no. 1 Stefan Frei was injured early in the year, but TFC head coach Paul Mariner has publicly endorsed Frei as his starter heading into the 2013 campaign.
Kocic leaves the Reds after having joined the side in 2010 under Preki. He spent most of that year on loan to Serbian White Eagles in the Canadian Soccer League, where he won that circuit's goalkeeper of the year award.
In 2011 he served mostly as Frei's backup, waiting until July of that year to make his season debut for the first team. He then made a string of impressive appearances in the latter stages of both the Champions League and MLS that led to speculation as to whether he or Frei would be dealt from the club.
With Johnson and Kocic now gone, Toronto continues a postseason transformation that has seen several players dispatched either through outright release or transactions within MLS. TFC now holds the first and third overall picks in next month's draft, although it is expected that at least one of those selections will be dealt to another team.
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