TFC trades Nick Hagglund to expansion side FC Cincinnati


Toronto FC defender Nick Hagglund. (Nathan Denette/CP)

TORONTO – Nick Hagglund is going home.

Toronto FC announced on Wednesday it has traded the defender to expansion side FC Cincinnati in exchange for US$200,000 in general allocation money and US$100,000 targeted allocation money.

Also, TFC received the first spot in Major League Soccer’s allocation order from FC Cincinnati in a deal that sees Hagglund join his hometown club. The league’s allocation process determines which teams have first crack at signing certain marquee players who are returning to MLS.

TFC recently used the allocation procedure to sign Belgian defender Laurent Ciman, who previously played in MLS with the Montreal Impact and LAFC, from French club Dijon. The acquiring of US$250,000 in allocation money and the top selection in the allocation process suggest TFC has big plans to sign a marquee player.

“This deal gives us flexibility on our budget both in the short- and long-term. In addition, the number one allocation ranking gives us the option of acquiring another player and/or asset either during this transfer window or in the summer,” Toronto general manager Ali Curtis said in a news release.

The departure of Hagglund hardy comes as a surprise. Ciman’s recent arrivals means TFC have great depth in central defence – the Reds can call upon Mavinga, Drew Moor, Eriq Zavaleta. Fullback Gregory van der Wiel can also play as a central defender.

So, what kind of move TFC might make after this trade with FC Cincinnati?

They could go after a midfielder in order to file a hole left by the recent sale of Spanish playmaker Victor Vazquez to Al-Arabi in Qatar. Or it could add some depth at the forward position, someone who can play behind starters Sebastian Giovinco and Jozy Altidore.

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Hagglund, 26, is a native of Cincinnati and he also played NCAA soccer for Xavier, one of the city’s most prestigious universities. A first-round pick (10th overall) in the 2014 MLS SuperDraft, Hagglund was a former Big East Defensive player of the year during his time at Xavier.

He was a regular starter for TFC during his rookie campaign, making 25 league appearances overall in 2014. During the Reds’ run to its first MLS Cup final in 2016, Hagglund started all six matches in the playoffs.

His most memorable moment for TFC came in 2016 when he scored at home in the second leg of the Eastern Conference final against the Montreal Impact. Hagglund’s goal forced extra time in the aggregate series, and TFC went on to win the match in extra time to advance to the MLS Cup.

But after enjoying somewhat of a breakout 2016 campaign, Hagglund sustained a torn MCL early on the following season, and he ended up being sidelined for more than two months.

More injury issues and the addition of defender Chris Mavinga resulted in fewer playing opportunities for Hagglund the past two seasons, although he did start in 15 MLS games in 2018.

Hagglund was a member of the TFC side that won a historic treble in 2017, as well as winning two additional Canadian Championship titles.

In total, Hagglund scored six goals and tallied six assists in 98 regular season and playoff games during his five seasons in Toronto.

TFC is currently in California for pre-season training camp. The Reds will then play Club Atletico Independiente in the round of 16 of the 2019 Concacaf Champions League, with the first leg scheduled for Feb. 19 in Panama and the return match a week later at BMO Field.

Toronto opens the 2019 MLS regular season on the road against the Philadelphia Union on March 2. Its home opener comes on March 17 vs. the New England Revolution.


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