TFC re-signs Robinson, loses Smith

DEAN MCNULTY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:57 AM ET

Toronto FC got a huge boost for next season yesterday by signing Welsh international midfielder Carl Robinson to a new two-year Major League Soccer deal.

That was the good news.

The bad news was that the Reds lost a valuable piece off their roster when the Seattle Sounders picked off New Zealand international midfielder/forward Jarrod Smith in yesterday's MLS expansion draft.

TFC's director of soccer Mo Johnston said he was ecstatic at being able to get Robinson's name on a new contract, particularly after the 32-year-old became the object of interest by several English sides in the wake of his player of the year season in Toronto.

Robinson earned $330,0000 US this past season and will likely be in line for a substantial raise for 2009, although Johnston would not divulge the financial details of the deal.

"(Robinson) has accepted our terms," he said. "I am very happy at having him tied down for a couple of more years."

Johnston's focus now is on getting a pair of TFC forwards -- Danny Dichio and Rohan Ricketts -- re-signed for the coming season.

"We want to keep the nucleus of the team together," Johnson said. "Now it's just a matter of adding four or five players. We know what we need; someone wide in the midfield with experience, a centre back and a couple of strikers."

Johnson also holds three first-round picks in the 2009 MLS SuperDraft -- second, fourth and 13th -- that he can use as trade bait to get a player he covets who is currently in the league.

As for losing Smith, Johnston said that he knew going into yesterday's expansion draft that the Reds were vulnerable to losing a front-line player.

"We are sad to see Jarrod go but we wish him all the best," he said.

TFC had left several key players unprotected -- including Dichio and Ricketts -- but Johnston said salary cap considerations and senior international status made them unattractive picks for the Sounders.

Among the players slected yesterday by Seattle was Houston Dynamo forward Nate Jaqua, who was one of the player's Johnston had his eye on earlier this year, but trade talks fell through.


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