Good Friday morning Caps fans, and a slightly early Merry Christmas to all of you who celebrate. The presents are wrapped under the tree, the food is cooking and what better way to begin Christmas Eve than this column?
CF Montreal fans had a present to unwrap slightly early, with news coming down yesterday that the club were closing in on a deal for defender Alistair Johnston, who Nashville SC was rumored to be shopping around.
CF Montreal has acquired Canada national team defender Alistair Johnston from Nashville SC, per a source. Montreal sending Nashville $1 million in allocation money spread over 2022 and 2023. NSC will also receive a percentage of a future sale, if Johnston, 23, is sold abroad.— Sam Stejskal (@samstejskal) December 23, 2021
The move will cost the Quebecois 1 million in Garber bucks and represents a pretty darn good value for a player who has developed into a top class defender. The 23-year-old made a good impression during the Gold Cup and seems a good bet for a future move to Europe — if such a move were to materialize, Nashville will retain a sell-on percentage.
The transaction for those of us who felt (reasonably) that this would have been an impeccable signing for the Caps, with Johnston representing perhaps the archetype of what Vanni Sartini would like to see in a right center back.
Why the club favored Tristan Blackmon we will never know. The former LAFC man was more than half the cost, which probably was a big factor, and he provides some theoretical cover at right wingback (the position Blackmon was drafted at).
In any event, there isn’t much use crying about spoiled milk. Maybe the Caps should have pushed harder for Johnston or maybe they’re pinching their pennies for a larger signing (fingers crossed!) or maybe they didn’t want to pay the wages Montreal did. Maybe Nashville didn’t want to sell within the western conference (something I’m going to have to get used to) — any number of things could have happened.
We’ve run down why Blackmon’s signing is a good one that makes a lot of sense. If Blackmon was a good pickup last week, he is a good pickup now and a totally separate transfer doesn’t change that, even if it involves a Canadian international.
In any event, it is good to see top, young Canadian talent playing for the Canadian MLS teams — let’s just hope next time a Canadian men’s national teamer moves it is to Vancouver and not a MLS rival.
Best of the Rest
A year in review of a pretty darn good 2021 for Canadian soccer
Atlanta United poached MLS veteran Ozzie Alonso from Minnesota United
Caps fans will recognize a familiar face at number one on this list
Philadelphia Union acquire forward Julian Carranza on loan from Inter Miami, another casualty of roster mismanagement