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FC Dallas sends Ronnie O'Brien to Toronto

Published 11/21/2006 8:03:52 AM by Steve Hunt from MLSnet.com Staff
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Frisco, Texas - FC Dallas on Friday sent all-star midfielder Ronnie O'Brien to Toronto FC in exchange for defender/midfielder Adrian Serioux and a second-round draft pick (14th overall) in the 2007 MLS SuperDraft. Serioux, who played for MLS Cup champion Houston Dynamo in 2006, was selected by Toronto in the MLS Expansion Draft just prior to the trade, which was the first in the Queen City club's history.

The swap ends a great deal of speculation about O'Brien and his future with FCD. The talented yet temperamental playmaker had expressed his desire to leave the Hoops on several occasions this season. Despite playing much of the year with an injured hamstring, he still managed to lead FCD with 11 assists and was named an MLS All-Star for the third straight year.

"Ronnie is a great player and certainly did some great things for FC Dallas and it's never easy to lose a player like that," said FCD President and General Manager Michael Hitchcock. "It was one of those things that Ronnie wanted a change of scenery and wanted to go somewhere new. His wife has family in Toronto. He told us that if there was a chance to do a deal there, that he would appreciate it. Anytime you can do a deal that's good for both teams and also good for the players and their families, that's a good trade all around."

Serioux comes to the Hoops not even a week after he was in the starting 11 for Houston in their MLS Cup victory over New England on Sunday at Frisco's Pizza Hut Park. He played in 20 regular season games for Dynamo in both central defense and central midfield and scored one goal. The Canadian international also appeared in all four of Houston's playoff matches.

"When I looked around the league this year at the players that really did a great job in countering some of our most effective players, Adrian (Serioux) was one of those guys," Hitchcock said. "He's a great center back, can play defense, is very athletic and is good with the ball on his feet. He can play as a holding or central midfielder and can play a few other positions as well. We feel like when we look at this trade that we gained a starter in Adrian and gained something we don't have and we were able to fortunately keep some of our starters who could have been picked up in the expansion draft."

FCD and Toronto FC had worked out a gentleman's agreement before the draft that the expansion side wouldn't select any of the players the Hoops left unprotected in exchange for getting O'Brien in a trade.

Another aspect of the deal that appealed to Hitchcock was getting a second-round draft pick. "We have a good pick in the second round, which gives us a great chance to get another Generation adidas player," he said. "You look at some of our best players and they're Generation adidas players, guys like Drew Moor and Ramon Nunez. There's a chance for us to have three starters out of this deal. We keep a current starter on our team because we didn't lose anyone to expansion. Then, we added Adrian and also a Generation adidas player."

In addition to program graduates Nunez and Moor, FCD has two current Generation adidas players on their roster: midfielder Dax McCarty and defender Blake Wagner. Both were picked in the 2006 SuperDraft and are considered solid building blocks for the future.

Hitchcock also admits that another thing that drew him to trade for Serioux was the fact that he is a physical player who isn't afraid to stir the pot a bit in the back or midfield. "It's extremely important for us because we lack that right now," he said. "We lack that muscle and that player who can really go in and stick hard when we need it. He's going to add a dynamic to this team that we don't have and something that I think we desperately needed this past season. We're happy that we have that for next year."

Acquiring Serioux only adds fuel to what subsequent personnel decisions could be on the horizon for FCD. If he plays at center back, he will likely be paired with Moor, meaning veteran Greg Vanney is the odd man out and will thus play elsewhere in 2007. Should Serioux hit the pitch in central midfield, it could signify that captain Simo Valakari will no longer be with the team or will accept a reduced role.

On a related subject, Hitchcock gave an update on how the search for a new FCD head coach is progressing. The team relieved Colin Clarke of his duties nearly two weeks ago. "This weekend will be my final first-round interviews," Hitchcock said. "Then, I will evaluate all of those and will narrow the list to the finalists hopefully on Monday. That will be three or four candidates and we'll bring them in market the beginning of the week after Thanksgiving. We will make our decision shortly thereafter."

Label: Ronnie O'brien Toronto FC, Adrian Serioux, FC Dallas, Toronto FC, MLS Soccer
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