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Toronto FC looks to Mullins to bolster offence, dealing Hamilton to Columbus

Written by on July 11, 2019

Toronto FC confirmed Thursday it was parting ways with backup forward Jordan Hamilton, sending the homegrown player to Columbus Crew SC for American striker Patrick Mullins.

Toronto also gave up an international roster spot for this season, US$50,000 in targeted allocation money and the right of first refusal for an unidentified player.

In essence, the trade involves two players who have not met high expectations.

Hamilton, now 23, came up through the TFC academy and was 18 when he made his first-team debut and won his first cap for Canada. He leaves Toronto with 15 goals and four assists in 66 appearances with 15 goals and four assists in all competitions.

Mullins, 27, was twice named winner of the MAC Hermann Trophy as the top male NCAA soccer player while at the University of Maryland, where he scored 47 goals and added 35 assists in 92 career matches.

He has 24 goals with 10 assists in 122 MLS appearances. 

It’s a change of scenery for both players — something new for Hamilton, a Toronto native whose only time away from home was a 2014 loan spell in Portugal.

Mullins is no stranger to pulling up stakes. Drafted 11th overall by New England in 2014, he hah stints with New York City FC and D.C. United before joining Columbus last July.

“We are excited to welcome Patrick to the organization,” Toronto GM Ali Curtis said in a statement. “He is a player that is competitive and has proven the ability to score goals in MLS. He holds the ball well with his back to the goal and he has the ability to combine with central and wide midfielders.”

The deal reunites Hamilton with former Toronto GM Tim Bezbatchenko, who is now Columbus’s president and GM.

“In Jordan we have a young forward who has not only won trophies at the club level, but who also has experience competing at the international level with Canada and will provide depth in our attack,” Bezbatchenko said in a statement.

Hamilton signed as a Toronto homegrown player in January 2014. In recent years, his playing time has been limited by the presence of Jozy Altidore and the now-departed Sebastian Giovinco.

He has shown flashes of real talent in front of goal, but not often enough.

“Having come up through our academy, Jordan has been with our club for many years, which made this decision that much more difficult,” Curtis said. “Ultimately, we believe this decision is best for both Jordan and Toronto FC.”

Toronto declined his contract option last November but signed him to a new deal in January that pays him $137,659 this season. For Hamilton, given the departure of Tosaint Ricketts and Lucas Janson, it was an opportunity to establish himself as first choice behind Altidore.

He has four goals in 14 appearances (seven starts) this season but Toronto opted to shift Spanish playmaker Alejando Pozuelo up front most recently in the absence of Altidore due to the Gold Cup.

Mullins was acquired by Columbus in a trade with D.C. United for $150,000 in targeted allocation money. He has yet to score in nine games (two starts) this season.

He is making $260,004 this season, according to the MLS Players’ Association. A source confirmed that Columbus will retain a significant portion of his salary cost.

Toronto has been looking for more offensive punch behind Altidore.

Altidore (five goals in nine games) and Pozuelo (seven goals in 16 games) have carried most of the goal-scoring load with Nick DeLeon chipping in with four in 19 games.

Terrence Boyd is scoreless in 11 games this season while fellow forward Ayo Akinola has one goal in eight games.

Toronto (6-8-5) visits the Montreal Impact (9-9-3) on Saturday.

 

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Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press