Toronto FC has unloaded out-of-favor forward Jeff Cunningham to FC Dallas for a third-round draft pick. The deal ends weeks of speculation about Cunningham’s future after his well-publicized falling out with Toronto FC head coach John Carver.
Cunningham has struggled mightily for Toronto this year, scoring three goals in 16 matches and failing to show the form that has helped him score 99 career goals in MLS. He joins an FC Dallas team that boasts star forward Kenny Cooper, but also has speedy option Dominic Oduro as well as reserve forward Abe Thompson.
Toronto FC is still searching for forwards, with 16-year-old Abdus Ibrahim, recently-added Chad Barrett and reserve Jarrod Smith as the only options recently. Danny Dichio is still sidelined with a concussion, but could return to action for this weekend’s match against Colorado. TFC is considering options outside of MLS, as well as some in MLS, including LA Galaxy forward Carlos Ruiz.
For those keeping track, FC Dallas will be the fifth different team Cunningham has played for in five seasons (Columbus, Colorado and Real Salt Lake were the previous stops). It was that track record that kept some teams, including the New York Red Bulls, from biting when Toronto started shopping Cunningham around the league.
One of the places Cunningham did the best was at Real Salt Lake when none other than FC Dallas assistant John Ellinger was the head coach. Cunningham scored 16 goals for Ellinger’s RSL squad in 2006, but was traded by RSL to Toronto soon after Ellinger was fired as RSL head coach and replaced by Jason Kreis. Dallas already had a fast forward in Oduro, and has a very young squad, but it appears clear that Ellinger has convinced head coach Schellas Hyndman that Cunningham can be a good fit for the Hoops.
Could the deal be a pre-cursor to a Kenny Cooper transfer? I wouldn’t go that far. FC Dallas got Cunningham at a bargain price and can easily release him if he doesn’t work out. Now if Cunningham does flourish, it could be one of the steals of the year.
What do you think of the deal? Is FC Dallas crazy to take on a player who has earned the label ‘malcontent’ at multiple clubs? Could FC Dallas head coach Schellas Hyndman be the man to bring the best out of Cunningham? Did Toronto FC sell Cunningham too cheaply? Were the Red Bulls foolish not to take a chance on Cunningham at such a cheap price?
Share your thoughts below.