MLS- Toronto FC

Red Bulls pass on Cunningham


The New York Red Bulls are in desperate need of a speedy forward. They’re just not desperate enough to take a chance on Jeff Cunningham.

The Red Bulls passed on a chance to acquire Cunningham after being offered him by Toronto FC, a source with knowledge of the offer told SBI on Tuesday.

Toronto is trying to unload the Jamaican-born striker but is struggling to find a taker for a player who has not developed the best reputation around the league.

The Red Bulls seemed like an ideal destination but the club was concerned about Cunningham’s reputation as a locker-room cancer and chose to pass.

Cunningham has compiled 99 goals and 58 assists over his 11 seasons, but he has also played for four teams in the past four seasons and now appears to have worn out his welcome in Toronto.

What do you think of the decision? Should the Red Bulls have taken a chance on Cunningham?

  • quartz62


    I rather we play the 5-5-0 than to have a locker room cancer like him. WE can overcome this seasons results, but if we bring in a cancer like him we may be paying for it for longer than 1 season.


  • kpugs

    I don’t think Cunningham is that good, though he is absurdly fast and can be effective at times.

    Given that I am fairly sure he is a relatively high-priced player for this league, the Red Bulls are right to have ignored him. For what he brings to the table he is simply not worth his salary, much less worth his salary + whatever Toronto is asking for him.


  • Ossington Mental Youth

    cant say i blame em, on the same hand, SOMEONE TAKE THIS GUY PLEASE


  • Jeff

    Toronto must not think much of the Red Bulls chances this season if they are willig to trade Cunningham. Lockroom problem or not he still would have been a decent forward option. Any idea what they wanted in return?

    If he was basically “free” I think they should have taken him.


  • WTF

    When he’s on his game he’s lethal. Though, he’s not been ON HIS GAME for maybe 2 years now. He also has chronic groin injuries.


  • bangersandmash

    “For what he brings to the table he is simply not worth his salary, much less worth his salary + whatever Toronto is asking for him.”

    I’m willing to bet that all Toronto was looking for was a 4-pack of redbull to help speed up Laurent Robert.

    I think we’re looking at the birth of the “Cunningham Rule” where the league will force a team to sign and play Cunningham until he scores goal 100.


  • Kevin M

    All that said, I get dang nervous when he is on the field against my team. Seams like he can punish you in an instant…


  • Tom in Newark

    Osorio and Agoos clearly are not going to risk the team’s future to win now. I do hope that management will be patient enough to let them build the team slowly. Every year it seems that the club has traded away draft picks and allocations with a very mediocre return. I’d rather club held onto these assets and took its time in adding solid veterans and young talent than keep the team improving every year. Maybe that means kissing bye to the playoffs this year; but that certainly isn’t the end of the world.


  • Eugene

    What was the price? What was Toronto looking for in the trade?

    I don’t mind NY passing if Toronto was looking for too much in the trade.


  • Mike

    Everybody always referes to Cunningham as a locker room cancer, but nobody ever gives any details of why they make that statement. What has he done in his past to earn that reputation? It sounds like he must be a a-hole, but letsw here why everybody says that. Ives, do you have any examples?


  • irishapple21

    If RBNY signed Cunningham, he’d play well for a couple of games as a “so there” to TFC, then he would begin complaining and moaning and demoralizing the rest of the team with his antics and insubordination. Then, he would get injured again. Meanwhile, RBNY would be out more cap space. It was a good idea to pass.


  • Igor

    Wait until he scores one more goal, then get him so he can petition the league for shirt # 100.


  • j1m

    Spread some butter and jam on him. He’s toast. He’ll only break 100 goals if they give him a PK with a blind, one-legged keeper with his hands tied. He’ll be in USL next year.


  • El Rey

    I agree with Mike. I’d like to see some examples of what he has said or done. Can you enlighten us on this Ives?


  • Denis

    DAMN NYRB!!! You can’t spot quality if it hit you in the face!!! 99 goals and counting guy!

    To reiterate Ossington’s comment – Please … somebody take him!


  • bgnewf

    I would give him to Red Bulls for the following:

    $20 dollars in allocation money

    a 3rd round pick in the 2050 MLS Superdraft

    and a bag of half inflated soccer balls.

    For that matter I would give him up for pretty much anything we can get from him. He is a cancer and a malcontent who is only interested in himself.

    The problem for TFC I assume is that if he is cut there will be a pro-rated hit on our salary cap room. Can anybody with more knowledge of MLS rules confirm this?


  • j1m

    Quality? He’s 31, and his goal scoring ability is declining faster than even he can run. Add the fact that he’s only had one assist since 2006. Do you see him working with Angel to score goals? I don’t. I see him with a chip on his shoulder the size of Angel’s reputation, and playing selfishly to prove he’s better than Angel. Not a recipe for success at all.


  • Alex

    definately a big mistake by RBNY, should of taken him untill the end of this season given our emergency situation up front…he is a proven scorer and most importantly is used to playing on the turf


  • j1m

    Used to playing on Turf? he’s not scoring on Turf. That’s why Toronto is getting rid of him.


  • Porno Stud

    Not sure what Toronto expects. They’ve verbally lambasted Cunningham in the local and national media. He probably deserved it, but if they knew they were going to move him, maybe not making him sound like the worst striker in the game mighta helped their cause out a bit. This isn’t England Carver, moves are made a bit differently over here.


  • DigzTFC

    As a TFC, I don’t even want him in the league anymore. He’s a relic of time when MLS was kick to as far as you can and chase it. He’s always offside, he doesn’t win 50/50 balls, doesn’t channel oppossing defenders, can’t head the ball, not a very good dribbler….and within the last two years cannot finish from 2 yards out. Does this sound like a guy you want to pay 250K? He should not be in the MLS and if a team in Norway will pay him, I think the league will add through subtraction. I was one of the first to become disenchanted with his play, but he was given more than the benefit of the doubt. He is my least favorite sports icon.


  • DigzTFC

    Yes Porno Stud…you might have a point. But don’t be so naive to think other coaches are not aware of Cunningham and his play. TFC would give him away for very little their is no doubt. Other teams just don’t want to touch this guy. He’s played himself out of the league


  • Rich

    “Everybody always refers to Cunningham as a locker room cancer, but nobody ever gives any details of why they make that statement. What has he done in his past to earn that reputation?”

    This is quite anecdotal but: The only time I have sat close to the field for an MLS game (2nd row in a stadium that put me in spitting distance of players taking a throw in) was a game in which Cunningham was playing. I was new to watching soccer, but Cunningham stood out as he was constantly calling for the ball, unlike anyone else on the field. The tone was did not seem to me to be a “team-friendly” “I’m open”. It sounded more like a Keyshon

    Johnson “Get me the damn ball”. And he did this whether he was marked or not.

    So it is possible that there is nothing documented, but could be the griping of Midfielders who are tired of being yelled at for not funneling all their passes to him. Or, that could have been an aberration, and this is all some FO-leaked garbage.


  • Yossarian

    Cunningham never had a high skill level – he’s always been a run and kick guy. Now that he’s slowed a step, he’s positively useless. If he can’t run right past you, he can’t beat you.


  • cm

    TFC should have trade him along with McBride to Chicago…maybe they could’ve received a bit more than in the Barrett deal


  • Marco from Union

    Obviously, John Carver doesn’t think much about Jeff especially after the Canadian Chmapionship Game when he called out Jeff and said How has he scored 99 Goals in this league, and he couldn’t put one in from front of the net – I think it’s unfair to call out the player as a Cancer noone here actually knows what’s going on inside that locker room, but big player contracts in the MLS tend to be pushy and demanding which is typical with the notriety – He defintely would help the NY Redbulls but I dont think it’s worth his salary at ($257,500 Guaranteed compensation for 2008, Dont forget there still paying Claudio’s $1.2 Million dollar salary for this season) especially at 31 – Osorio is probably going to run with what he has at this point and look in the offseason to make a big splash on a Forward –


  • Shakes

    Hey Ives, should have used the iconic photograph us TFC supporters have burned into our minds, of Cunny standing in the middle of the pitch with his hands on his hips. It’s his favourite pose.

    My guess is that Trader Mo hasn’t asked for more than a can of tennis balls, and a promise that we won’t have to pay his salary any more, haha.

    The tap-in miss from one foot away against Montreal was simply the straw that broke the camel’s back with this guy. He’s been useless for a long time now.

    Maybe he can reboot his career somewhere else, but somehow I doubt it.

    – Scott


  • KingSnake

    I see the name “Cunny” and I do not think of a cutesy player nickname, I think of something else. Kind of similar to referring to a HMMWV (‘Humvee’) as a “Hummer” …


  • Camjam

    He also played on turf in Salt Lake, and as I recall scored quite a few goals for us.


  • John

    People refer to him as a “locker-room cancer” and that’s not quite accurate–it doesn’t accurately convey how coaches and teammates feel about him.

    1. I’ve never heard a former teammate of Cunningham praise him as a teammate. Oh, people say he’s fast or has a nose for goal. No-one I’ve talked to or read about who’s ever played with Cunningham has ever said it was a good experience or they liked being the field with him. There are guys like Guevara who got condemned as locker-room cancers but teammates would still praise their work on the field. Not so with Cunningham. Among the things I heard from people who knew him at RSL, Colorado and Columbus was that he dogged it (okay, a lot of goal scorers aren’t known as working on defense or hustling back after a run), but would totally ignore the game plan or role set out for him, that it was very difficult to find another forward he’d mesh well with–you wanted the other striker to be a second banana to him. Runs off the ball were supposed to be lame, wasn’t will to do decoy work. I honestly never asked about stuff in the clubhouse or how he interacted with people and coaches when the clock wasn’t running so I can’t say if he was a lockerroom cancer or not.

    2. Despite the assist total, I’ve never seen him as a guy willing to dish the ball. And too often when it comes to him, either one of 2 things happens: he takes a shot or the attack stops. He doesn’t make wise decisions and his running mate on the frontline rarely benefits. Does that sound like the kind of partner you want for JPA?

    3. He’s expensive, can’t stay healthy and on a team screaming out for a goal scorer, hasn’t shown the ability to score semi-consistently for 2 years. Alecko Eskandarian is a better deal–at least he’d be local and cheaper and would work harder.


  • Paul

    The image the exemplifies his dogging is that he has the most often tied shoes in the league, by far. I watched him at RSL for a full season and he tied his shoes at least 10 times a match. Playing for TFC as a late sub a few nights ago a ball was kicked down field for him to run on, a classic tactical use of Cunningham, except, he wasn’t paying attention. He was busy tying his shoes. He’s always tying his shoes instead of being ready to play. The image that exemplifies his “ME ME ME” approach is his hands on hips, impatiently looking at teammates who are not feeding every single ball towards him, even when he is tying his shoes.


  • Oren

    Ever since Jozy left, I think the Red Bulls have been in need in someone who has a lot of speed and I think Jeff Cunningham can bring that to us. The only reason why i think it was right to pass on him was because he has a real bad attitude and I think he’ll be just like Edson Buddle and just won’t produce anything for us.


Add your comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

More from SBI Soccer