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Johann Smith to make TFC debut today


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Former U.S. Under 20 forward/midfielder Johann Smith is set to make his debut for Toronto FC today against the New York Red Bulls after signing with TFC on Thursday.

Toronto made a trade with New England (sending allocation money to the Revs) to move up from 13th to second in the MLS allocation order to grab Smith, who has been without a club since being released by English club Bolton Wanderers last spring.

A speedy left winger who can also be used up front, Smith could challenge for the starting left midfield position held by inconsistent French winger Laurent Robert. The scouting report on Smith is that he has blazing speed but lacks finishing ability and isn’t the most technically gifted player. At just 21 years of age, Smith is a a quality prospect who isn’t costing Toronto much on the salary cap.

What do you think of Toronto’s addition of Smith? Can he be an impact player?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Smith may have a big future but don’t count on him being an impact player right away.

    He was released by a Championship team (the better championship teams are better than MLS) which had loaned him out to a league 2 team (about equivilent to a weak USL team) which didn’t care enough about him to pick him up.

    US has plenty of “fast” guys but he needs to be able to play the game.

  2. MLS is getting some real infusions of talent during this transfer period – this is an exciting time to be a fan of the league!

  3. Don’t know how this thread degenerated into “speedy player with no technical ability,” but for those that saw the TFC-NY game, it was absolutely clear that Johann Smith is a VERY fast player WITH technical ability.

    Like I said, his finishing isn’t as good as Altidore, but I rate Johann comparable to Robbie Rogers. Which means its a great acquisition for Toronto.

    In his first game with Toronto, he and Ricketts looked like the most dangerous players on the field. I believe Smith had only practiced with the team for a day or two before this game, so he definitely will benefit from having some more time to learn and gel with his teammates.

  4. Speedy but no technique? Wouldn’t it be better to find a player with less speed but with technique.


    You’d think, but we’re talking about mo Johnston here. He doesn’t value technical ability at all.

    Look at most of the players who fill out TFC: great athlete’s, really fast, strong, but outside of Guevarra and a few others they lack a ton of skill.

  5. Crap, allocation money? Maybe I’m just underrating the importance of that but I’d have rather had them keep the spot and/or get Johann Smith. I mean, I like Chris Tierney and all but…

  6. So, he’s Marvell Wynne?

    Posted by: Mike | August 17, 2008 at 02:59 PM


    but on the left!

  7. I was at the Rochester match, as well. The guy is lightning. But that doesn’t mean he’ll come good as a footballer. He clearly has the physical tools necessary to excel in the game, but his track record of being shipped from club to club doesn’t bode well for him.

    I’d love to see him succeed as well as anyone, but I’d prefer not to get carried away before he starts to produce some results. Hopefully, the move to MLS will allow him to find his game and avoid getting lost in the wilderness a la Jemal Johnson et al.

    On a side note, the other player who impressed me in the U-20 match vs. Argentina was Bryan Arguez — his incisive passing and composure on the ball stood out in midfield. He clearly did not excel in his time with United, but Hertha Berlin must have seen some of that potential, as well. Hopefully, they’ll be able to help him find that kind of poise in his professional career.

  8. Carl-

    From what we’ve been told (on the TFC end) its a financial allocation, sorry, no draft picks.

    Question for anyone, is he better as a winger or a striker (im hoping striker)

  9. Ah, ok, that makes sense that the Lewis deal hasn’t been completed yet.

    According to the NY Post, Toronto shipped cash to NE for the allocation spot. I interpreted that to mean a full allocation, but don’t have any evidence what the $$ amount was.

  10. Onyewu transferring to Lazio? I’ll believe it when I see it. When Onyewu played for Newcastle he was atrocious. I’m in favor of the guy doing well for both club and country, but he hasn’t had a great track record outside of Belgium.

  11. Eugene, the Galaxy’s move for Eddie Lewis hasn’t happened yet since it needs to make a move to clear cap space to fit Lewis in. So in essence, LA passed on Smith.

  12. Yeah I’m also really interested to know what the Revs got. Get on top of this Ives! Please, for the love of god, tell me that it’s San Jose’s first round pick, which I’m pretty sure TFC has. It better be something good to move all the way back to 13th again.

  13. i saw this kid play with the u-20 team in rochester last year against argentina right before the u-20 world cup. he impressed me enough that i will never for get him. he is super fast, like marvel wynne fast. hes so fast there was one instance where he stripped the ball off an argintine player, ran down the right side to the corner so fast that no one of on the USA had time to get in the box before argintina forced it out for a corner.

    if his finishing and crossing can get better he will be a real threat for teams with slow defenses. its too bad tfc doesnt play la galaxy any more. i’m sure he could score a hat trick between vanney and cronin back there.

  14. do youth players returning really calculate into the allocation process?? i figured they mainly did that for older yanks coming back to the states??

  15. looks like that Onyewu will transfer to Lazio Rom P.S.: Matthew Taylor made in his first game for TUS Koblenz a nice goal.

  16. Ives,

    There are a couple of things here that confuse me:

    -If Toronto jumped to 2nd in the allocation order, some team must have passed on Smith. But according to my notes, NE was 1st in the allocation order, not second. Any idea if someone did in fact pass on him or if that’s a mistake in the press release?

    -Is Smith a left-winger? For the US U-20s, he played the right wing, not the left. And looking at his youtube clips for both Bolton and the US, he’s playing on the right side. In fact, prior to this press release and the TFC interview with Carver, I don’t recall Smith being definitively characterized as a left winger. So is that correct?

    All in all though, I would have been tremendously happy to see this kid come to NY. I rate him a little behind Jozy Altidore on finishing ability and comparable to Robbie Rogers.

  17. Leich will start today trying to mark this guy…he’ll get burned for 2 TFC goals in the first 20 minutes 🙁

    That is our luck!!!!!


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