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Tuesday 21 June 2011

A Farewell to Alen…

     … Stevanovic that is, as the irreparable hamstring was recalled by his Italian overlords at Torino. The 20 year-old Swiss-Serb spent 87 days on this Turin-to-Toronto work-exchange program – curiously Torino did not accept any Toronto FC players in return.

    When fit, Stevanovic had the ability to make him a valuable piece of a team – his dribbling skills, ball possession, and willingness to run at the opponent’s defense should have made him a dangerous asset in MLS.

    Aside from injury, his lack of faith in his teammates was the major detriment to his effectiveness. He always tried to do everything on his own, whether that was selfishness or desperation is hard to classify, but the end result was that he was too often caught in possession, turning over the ball in dangerous positions in the midfield.

    His frustration was at times evident as he often saw the pass or play long before his teammates could fulfill them. This slow, plodding play has been the bane of TFC’s season; perhaps with more practice this problem would have corrected itself.

    Though his stay was short and his name may fade into the mists of time along with those of Olivier Tébily and Abbe Ibrahim - only be recalled as trivia for the most die-hard of Toronto FC fans – he stood as a symbol for what TFC wanted and could acquire under the new brain trust of the organization.

    A young highly-skilled talent from a respected European league would never have joined the club in its first four seasons. In that there must be some solace.

    His six-figure salary now off their books, and Aron Winter’s insistence that his team needs some reinforcements should pave the way for new acquisitions, though the timing of the recall, considering the decimation of the midfield, could have been less painful.

     League wide there have been some other roster moves made recently as well as rumours as the silly season kicks into gear.

     Chicago Fire has sold forward Gastón Puerari to Atlas in Mexico. Puerari played well for the Fire, but with the acquisition of Cristian Nazarit, the return of Patrick Nyarko, the good form of fellow Uruguayan Diego Cháves, and the persistent rumours of upcoming transfer window activity, he was allowed to pursue other options.

     The Fire’s Guatemalan wide midfielder Marco Pappa has reportedly drawn interest due to his performance at the CONCACAF Gold Cup.

     Apparently Atlas have been paying attention to the increased quality of MLS as rumours of their interest in Sporting KC wide-man Ryan Smith have been circulating, though Coach and Technical Director Peter Vermes has stated there have been no conversations.

     Philadelphia has brought in offensive reinforcements with the signature of Veljko Paunović. The formerly retired striker made his first appearance in their 1-0 loss to Vancouver this weekend past.

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