Everyone in New England Revolution land is still reeling from the debacle in Chicago that plummeted the Revs from fifth to seventh place in the Eastern Conference, standings, but on a slow day some interesting-if-not-very-significant news came out of Foxboro. Midfielder Juan Toja, who has seen sporadic time alternating between the starting lineup and the substitutes' bench in 2013, has gained Permanent Resident status in the U.S.
Thus, he will no longer count as an international player toward New England's roster limit.
With Toja becoming a domestic player for roster purposes, the Revs now have six internationals on the squad: Jerry Bengtson (Honduras), Diego Fagundez (Uruguay), Jose Goncalves (Portugal), Dimitry Imbongo (Congo), Saer Sene (France) and O’Brian Woodbine (Jamaica). MLS teams have a base of seven international spots on their full rosters, which are transferable commodities.
Toja's decision has little impact on this season. No more signings can be made, as rosters froze over a week ago. More likely, this is a decision that faces toward 2014, as it will open the Revs to make more international signings in the offseason.
Of course, Toja's play hasn't been spectacular this season, and with his reported price tag ($295k), it follows logically that the Colombian playmaker will either be taking a major pay cut or moving on this winter. To that end, becoming a domestic player makes him far more attractive to other MLS clubs, even at his inflated salary rate.
On a somewhat related note, this calls into question Diego Fagundez's continued status as an international. The citizenship process may be long and arduous in this country, but if Juan Toja - who has only been in the country for two stints, neither of which have yet topped 18 months - can get his Permanent Residency, how is it that Diego can't? He's lived here since he was five! Food for thought, at least.