(Partially cross-posted you know where)
They both had a high work rate. Limited skills on the ball. Only one goal. And, really bad hair. Really bad.
The similarities between 2007 TFC whipping boy Andrea Lombardo and Jarrod Smith--aka Kiwi Lombardo--were pronounced. Now, they can add one more -- out the door after one season at BMO Field."
Smith was, bizarrely, drafted by Seattle in the expansion draft Wednesday. When the news broke many thought that Seattle was guilty of a typo. Johan Smith, a far better prospect, was also available and it had been widely speculated that it would be Jo. Smith that would be picked up be the expansion side.
Evidently Seattle saw more in the Kiwi than the 20,000 that pack BMO Field did. That's good news for Toronto, as it appears that they were going to wave him anyway. Basically, TFC escaped the expansion draft without losing a player that had a chance to contribute in 2009.
It's hard to understand what Seattle was thinking. It is possible that they picked Smith for salary considerations. He's a league minimum player. It's also possible that there was a wink-wink deal in place between Toronto and Seattle to ensure that he was the player selected. If a low draft pick somehow finds its way to Seattle in the next couple months, you'll know why.
Fans will likely never know (that's just how MLS rolls). But, TFC's great Kiwi experiment** (Smith was the second New Zealand player to suit up for Toronto. New Zealand doesn't really factor in the sport)is now over.
In other news, holding midfielder Carl Robinson has re-signed with Toronto for two more years. Some reports are suggesting that he did so with a "significant pay raise." It's hard to understand how, since he was already likely overpaid (about $330,000). In a cap league, it's not always about how good a player is-Robinson is a very good MLS player--but , rather, what value you bring--he doesn't really play a position that typically would get a lot of money in MLS.
The hidden factor here is allocation. MLS has a soft cap, where teams are allowed to use a certain amount of "allocation money" to pay down a player's cap hit. That money can be used when re-signing current players, or when originally signing players that aren't in the league. Fans never really know how much allocation is being used, so it's hard to know what kind of cap hit Robinson has (or even if any allocation was used). But, it is known that TFC has more than it is likely going to be able to use. So, in that light, re-signing Robbo for more money might make sense.
Like Bob McCown says "it's not your money." Fans shouldn't really care how much a player makes. Except when that fan's team plays in a cap system. So, pretty much every team in Toronto that doesn't play with bats then.
* Yes, it's true that Lombardo wasn't released until early in 2008, but he was really just a 2007 story. I'm choosing to ignore the five weeks in '08
** Maybe Mo thought TFC was supposed to be a rugby team?