Toronto FC thrilled with Terps midfielder

DEAN MCNULTY, TORONTO SUN

, Last Updated: 9:50 AM ET

About the only thing that went according to predictions at the Major League Soccer SuperDraft yesterday was that Toronto FC got to pick No. 1.

The rest of the pre-draft speculation was thrown out the window when Toronto coach Mo Johnston selected University of Maryland midfielder Maurice Edu as the first draft pick in team history.

While the 20-year-old Edu was the consensus choice at No. 1, there was plenty of conjecture that Toronto would opt for homegrown University of Rhode Island forward Jeffrey Gonsalves, of Markham, who was ranked ninth going into yesterday's proceedings in Indianapolis.

But Gonsalves' stock dropped dramatically after he missed the MLS combine last week as a result of a bout with mononucleosis.

Toronto bypassed Gonsalves a second time when, with the 10th overall pick obtained from Los Angeles Galaxy for cash, Johnston selected University of New Mexico defender Andrew Boyens.

Johnston pulled another surprise with Toronto's third pick -- 27th overall -- selecting North York's Rich Asante, a 21-year-old senior at Syracuse, who plays both the midfielder and defender positions.

Toronto eventually did select Gonsalves in the third round -- 40th overall -- in what might turn out to be the steal of the draft.

But Johnston was most proud of nabbing Edu.

"He's a very, very good young player," Johnston said in a team release. "It's a great day for our team, and we're looking forward to seeing him in training camp."

Edu said he was pretty sure that Toronto would pick him No. 1, even though he had not been contacted by the club prior to yesterday's proceedings.

"My agent and coaches told me (Toronto) was interested in me," Edu said in a telephone interview from Indianapolis.

The San Bernardino, Calif., native said he has never been to Toronto, but is happy to be on his way here.

"All I've heard is good things about Toronto," Edu said. "My (Maryland) coach (Sasho Cirovski) played for a while there and he couldn't say enough about the city.

"I had a short conversation with Mo just after he picked me and he told me the team would take care of me."

Edu's college stats are impressive. A first-team NSCAA all-American and Hermann Trophy semi-finalist in 2006, the six-foot, 170-pound Edu was a 55-game starter over the past three seasons, helping the Terps to a national championship in 2005, an NCAA semi-final appearance in 2004 and an appearance in the NCAA Sweet 16 this past season. All told, the Terps were 52-15-5 during his three seasons in a Maryland uniform.

Meanwhile Gonsalves wasn't the only top 10 player to drop out of the first round.

Notre Dame's Greg Dalby, who was ranked second, fell to 17th and third ranked Bryan Arguez dropped to 11th.


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