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Feb. 20, 2023: Reds trade Jiménez to Dallas for Servania
Toronto FC acquired midfielder Brandon Servania from FC Dallas in exchange for Jesús Jiménez and an international roster spot through the remainder of the 2023 season. As part of the trade, TFC will also retain a portion of Jiménez’s salary budget charge.
Quick analysis: Just last week, coach Bob Bradley acknowledged that Toronto FC was lacking a bit of depth in several positions ahead of the 2023 MLS regular season which kicks off on Saturday. Among the areas of the pitch that Bradley identified as needing reinforcements was in central midfield.
This trade goes some way to address that issue. Servania, a native of Alabama, is a young player who has a lot of upside to him and who hasn’t yet reached his full potential. At 23, he’s at an age where he can log a lot of minutes if needed and is hungry to play and prove himself. He can also be deployed as a holding midfielder or a box-to-box midfielder, something that TFC was in short supply of as they had no real back up option for either captain Michael Bradley or Canadian midfielder Mark-Anthony Kaye.
Last season, Servania started in 15 MLS games and made 23 appearances (both career highs), while scoring two goals and recording three assists. He earned $455,835 US in 2022 with Dallas.
“Brandon is a smart young footballer who will add to the quality of our group,” Bradley said in a media release. “Brandon has an eye for combining in the midfield and playing forward quickly while providing hard running from box to box.”
Servania spent the past four seasons with FC Dallas where he scored five goals and tallied seven assists in 74 appearances in all competitions after making his debut on April 6, 2019. During his time in Texas, Servania had loan spells in the USL Championship with the Tulsa Roughnecks FC (2018), and with Austrian club SKN St. Pölten (2021). He originally joined the FC Dallas youth academy in 2015 before signing with the MLS club as a Homegrown Player in 2018.
He has one cap for the United States national team, appearing in an international friendly against Costa Rica on Feb. 1, 2020. He also represented the U.S. at the youth level, playing in 2018 Concacaf U-20 Championship and the 2019 FIFA U-20 World Cup where he helped his team reach the quarter-finals.
Jiménez, 29, scored 10 goals in 37 appearances in all competitions in 2022 in his first season with Toronto. Although the Spaniard finished as the club’s top scorer, he also suffered through long scoring droughts. He scored seven goals in his first nine games. But then managed to add just two more in his next 26 league appearances. In August, Bob Bradley opted to bench Jiménez for a spell, explaining he needed time "to recharge."
"I know physically and mentally, you get through a season and you go through a stretch where, as a striker, things aren't coming as easy,'' Bradley said at the time.
Prior to joining Toronto, Jiménez spent four seasons with the Polish first-division side Górnik Zabrze. While there he scored 43 goals and recorded 26 assists across all competitions.
Jiménez earned $934,927 US last season with the Reds, and per the terms of this trade TFC will still be responsible for carrying a portion of his salary cap hit. Without knowing exactly how much that amount is, it’s difficult to say if the Reds came out on top of this trade, even if it acquired a young, promising player that bolsters its midfield corps. But it says something about how much the Spaniard fell out of favour with TFC if they were willing to eat a portion of his salary cap hit in order to ship him out of town.
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The Spaniard’s departure also leaves the Reds a little thin at the forward position. Canadian international Ayo Akinola and newcomer Adama Diomande will battle it out for now to see who slots between Federico Bernardeschi and Lorenzo Insigne in the front three. But beyond that, the club’s backup options are Jordan Perruzza (22), Deandre Kerr (20) and Hugo Mbongue (18). Between the trio of young Canadians, they have just four goals in 45 MLS appearances.
Akinola, 23, had somewhat of a breakout year in 2020 when he scored nine MLS goals. But he battled through injuries and stretches of inconsistency that saw him score just five goals in league play over the last two seasons.
One would think that Bradley is looking to bring in a more experienced and a proven goal scorer to help solidify the forward position. He also has an unused Designated Player roster spot to use. It wouldn’t come as a big surprise that the club decided to move on from Jiménez because it already has a replacement lined up, even if it’s not a DP.
(Top photo courtesy of torontofc.ca)
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