At the start of preseason the worry that every Toronto FC fan had was where would the goals come from and will the club have enough players on their roster? General manager Kevin Payne had that same worry. Throughout he stated that reinforcements would be coming and even had new coach Ryan Nelsen do some reconnaissance work in England. The friendlies went on but the roster stayed at 22. The team came home from Orlando and those same questions had not been answered.
A week before the First Kick against the Vancouver Whitecaps and all was still at BMO Field. Then the winds turned and the roster finally began to take shape and by the looks of it there are some reasons to be excited.
Torsten Frings is gone and Hogan Ephraim has arrived, that we did know. Then today the roster suddenly grew by five. The big name to sign today is former Welsh international forward-attacking midfielder Robert Earnshaw. According to Kristian Jack, Score Television soccer analyst, the best fact about the Earhshaw’s signing is that he is due his full salary from Cardiff City up until June. Therefore the cap hit for TFC will only be $150,000.
Three other trial players signed as well. Draft picks Taylor Morgan, Ashton Bennett and TFC Academy player Jonathan Osorio all are officially members of the club. Finally English league veteran Darel Russell also signed a contract.
One player on trial who hasn’t signed is former Tottenham player John Bostock. There is no news as to where the club stands on him.
All five of the new signings were on the flight to Vancouver and will take part in training sessions at BC Place. Whether any take part in the first match is up to coach Nelson and attaining the clearance and playing certificates.
The roster now is at 27 and MLS rules state that a team can have a maximum of 30 players under contract. There are rumors of further international signings as a Designated Player spot is still open. Coach Nelson has done well raiding England and his former club Queens Park Rangers as another name is on the radar. South Korean international and current QPR player Park Ji-Sung (pictured above) has had an indifferent year since leaving Manchester United. All accounts have him thinking of coming over to the MLS to finish his career. It would be easy to see him play under his former teammate Nelson at TFC. It would also be easy for him to sign with the Whitecaps and play with former international teammate Lee Young-Pyo. It’s complicated even further as the Portland Timbers own his Discovery Rights. Only time will tell who Park signs with.
Rest assured Payne isn’t done yet, but this week has been a success. It may not show tomorrow against the Whitecaps as time will be needed to work with all the new players. Coach Nelsen has his work cut out for him not only at BC Place but for the next few weeks. Payne has brought the players and now it’s the gaffer’s job to put a team out on the pitch that can win.
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