Toronto FC sends striker Jesus Jimenez to FC Dallas for midfielder Brandon Servania

Toronto FC moved on from striker Jesus Jimenez on Monday, shipping the Spanish striker and a 2023 international slot to FC Dallas for midfielder Brandon Servania.

Servania adds depth in the midfield. The 23-year-old native of Birmingham, Ala., signed as a homegrown player with Dallas in January 2018 and has five goals and seven assists in 74 appearances in all competitions.

He has won one cap for the U.S.

Toronto will retain a portion of Jimenez’s salary budget charge. The Spaniard made US$934,925 last season compared to US$455,835 for Servania.

“Brandon is a smart young footballer who will add to the quality of our group," Bob Bradley, Toronto's coach and sporting director, said in a statement. "Brandon has an eye for combining in the midfield and playing forward quickly while providing hard running from box to box. I’d also like to thank Jesús for his contributions and wish him well with his new club.”

While not known for his goal-scoring, Servania turned heads last April when he struck from nearly 40 yards out against Colorado, handcuffing goalkeeper William Yarbrough with a dipping shot.

The decision to deal Jimenez likely opens the door to newcomer Adama Diomande up front. The 33-year-old Norwegian international started TFC's last two pre-season games against Portland and the Los Angeles Galaxy.

Other forward options available are Canadians Ayo Akinola, Jordan Perruzza and Deandre Kerr. Italian stars Lorenzo Insigne and Federico Bernardeschi provide offence off the wings.

TFC opens the regular season Saturday at D.C. United.

Monday's trade means Toronto will likely field five newcomers in its starting 11: goalkeeper Sean Johnson, centre backs Matt Hedges and Sigurd Rosted, fullback Raoul Petretta and Diomande.

Toronto signed Jimenez in February 2022 from Poland’s Gornik Zabrze on a contract that ran through 2024 with an option for 2025.

The Spaniard wasted little time opening his MLS account, scoring seven goals in his first nine games. But he managed just two more in the next 26 league outings and scored just once in his final 17 games in all competitions in 2022.

In August, Bradley opted to rest Jimenez, saying the Spaniard 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.

Jiminez scored 10 goals in 37 appearances across all competitions last year.

Jimenez worked his way up through the lower levels of Spanish soccer before earning his chance in Poland where he scored 43 goals over four seasons (134 appearances in all competitions) for Gornik Zabrze.

"We're excited to bring Jesus Jimenez to the group,” said FC Dallas technical director Andre Zanotta. "We wanted to bring another attacking option to the roster. Jesus is an experienced player with a proven goal-scoring record in the league and we felt like he would complement our group really well.”

Servania joined the FC Dallas academy in 2015 and represented the U.S. as the under-18 and under-20 level. He earned his first call-up to the U.S. senior squad in a friendly against Costa Rica in February 2020.

He has had short loan spells with the US Championship's Tulsa Roughnecks (2018) and Austria's SKN St. Polten (2021).

Servania played one season of college soccer at Wake Forest, helping the Demon Deacons to an ACC title and the NCAA tournament quarterfinals in 2017.


Follow @NeilMDavidson on Twitter

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 20, 2023.

Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press