Sources from both MLS and Real Salt Lake have confirmed to ESPN.com that Jeff Cunningham has been traded to Toronto FC for forward Alecko Eskandarian, Toronto's 2008 first-round SuperDraft pick and cash.
Cunningham, just seven goals shy of becoming the fourth MLS player to score 100 goals, is coming off of his first Budweiser Golden Boot award in 2006 after leading MLS with 16 goals. Cunningham is now on his third club -- the Colorado Rapids and Real Salt Lake were the others -- in as many seasons, after spending the first seven of his 10-year career with the Columbus Crew.
D.C. United selected Eskandarian first overall in the 2003 Superdraft out of the University of Virginia and just one season later was named the 2004 MLS Cup MVP. Eskandarian battled back from concussions that shortened his 2005 season to be named an MLS All-Star in 2006 and has scored 21 goals in 87 career MLS matches, including his first and only ever goal for Toronto FC in a 2-1 loss to D.C. United on May 19.
RSL clearly now has the flexibility to go after a marquee designated player or add much-needed depth to their roster.
A high-ranking RSL official said, "Parting with Jeff [Cunningham] was hard but we are in a much better position now to improve our team. If you think of the cap room we've created not only from this deal, but also from Jason's [Kreis] retirement and [Luis] Tejada's departure, we've got the cash to possibly make a run at Shalrie Joseph or another player looking for the right change of venue."
Allen Hopkins covers Major League Soccer and U.S. Soccer for ESPN and ESPN.com. Look for Allen patrolling the sidelines during Major League Soccer Thursday Primetime. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.