By Marco D'Onofrio
On Wednesday it was announced taht Toronto FC have acquired the services of influential defender Drew Moor from the Colorado Rapids. The club is also negotiating the transfer of Steven Beitashour from the Vancouver Whitecaps.
It was no secret that the Canadian club was in the hunt to solidify their backline after picking the ball out of their own net an abysmal 58 times last season. Bringing in the likes of Moor and Beitashour is a real signal of intent for a team looking to take the next step in 2016.
With free agency finally being adopted by Major League Soccer, Moor was one of the most coveted players on the market. The 31-year-old is an MLS veteran, who has plied his trade in the North American top flight since he was selected sixth overall by Dallas, in the 2005 SuperDraft. Not only does he bring over 300 games of experience to Toronto, he also won an MLS Cup at BMO Field in 2010 with the Colorado Rapids.
Much like Moor, Beitashour is a seasoned veteran, who has played in MLS throughout his entire career. The right-back was born in San Jose, but has elected to represent Iran at the international level, earning a place on the squad that travelled to Brazil for the 2014 World Cup. He has spent the past two seasons with the Vancouver Whitecaps, making 57 MLS appearances with the club during that time.
While only Moor's deal has been made official by Toronto FC, both were reported by legitimate and respected sources. Sportsnet.ca broke the news about Moor, while Kristian Jack of TSN announced the Beitashour trade. It is believed that TFC will send a draft pick to the Whitecaps in exchange for Beitashour, and that the deal will be announced on Friday.
Although Beitashour and Moor will not garner global headlines like picking up Sebastin Giovinco and Jozy Altidore did last year, they both represent important coups for a team that seems willing to learn from their mistakes of the past. 2015 saw Toronto qualify for the postseason for the first time in franchise history, but were dismantled by the Montreal Impact in the first round.
If both deals do go through as expected, it would somewhat mark a change of direction for the club. So often in the past, they've looked to address their issues at the back by bringing in foreign talent like Damien Perquis or Ahmed Kantari. However, as Nat Borchers demonstrated with the Portland Timbers in 2015, MLS experience often trumps an international resume.
Toronto will hope that they can get the same kind of leadership at the back from Moor that Borchers provided the Timbers during their run to the MLS Cup, while Beitashour addresses an immediate need and plugs one of the biggest holes Toronto had in 2015.