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Sunday, January 29, 2012


It's "Springtime for Winter" as Toronto FC today released the names of the 41 players (so far) who are taking part in the club's pre-season training camp. The major difference from past years on first glance is the absence of any professional trialists. Just a year ago, the likes of Javier Martina, Mikael Yourassowsky and King Osei Gyan (for you TFC trivia buffs) were training with The Reds in hopes of grabbing a contract but this year seems quite different. While Aron Winter & Co. stressed the importance of stability and a lack of squad turnover, this is a wee bit of a shock unless more names are yet to join after the close of the UEFA transfer window.
One name that was hinted heavily on media day but has yet to officially surface is Chilean defender Miguel Aceval. Most would agree that the defence still needs reinforcing and the fact that his signing has been delayed is curious. Without other professionals invited, the empty roster spots will have to be filled by a melange of SuperDraft, Supplemental Draft and invited Academy products. We take a quick look at the current state of each area of the pitch and the occupational competition going into early camp...
Chad Bush (A), Stefan Frei, Milos Kocic, Quillan Roberts (A)... no realistic prospects or invitees means that barring a deal it will be another battle for the # 1 spot between Frei and Kocic.
Mykell Bates (S), Nick Blake (S), Geovanny Caicedo, Adrian Cann, Richard Eckersley, Jeremy Hall, Ty Harden, Doneil Henry, Brandon John (A), Aaron Maund (SD), Ashtone Morgan, Tyler Pasher (A), Dicoy Williams... With Cann aiming for the MLS season opener but Williams further on the horizon, there is a battle for the CB spot next to Caicedo. If by chance Miguel Aceval doesn't end up signing, a duel between the default Ty Harden and the promising Doneil Henry will form with Aaron Maund holding an outside shot.
Eric Avila, Elbekay Bouchiba, Efrain Burgos, Jr. (SD), Sergio Camargo (A), Jay Chapman (A), Oscar Cordon, Julian de Guzman, Terry Dunfield, Torsten Frings, Michael Green (S), Arthur Ivo (S), Reggie Lambe, Nicholas Lindsay (Injured for season), Mike Mazzullo (S), Luis Silva (SD), Matt Stinson... There seems to be a glut of defensive midfielders between Dunfield, Frings, de Guzman, Bouchiba and even Stinson. You would think something has to give. For the club to stand by Bouchiba as long as they did, the coaches must think highly enough of him. A fair amount of depth in attacking mids will create competition between Lambe, Avila and rookie Silva with Burgos Jr. an outsider with a chance to make bench-strength
Jordan Hamilton (A), Tristan Jackman (A), Ryan Johnson, Danny Koevermans, Keith Makubuya, Nick Soolsma, Joao Plata, Stefan Vukovic (A)... Despite arguably having the best striker in TFC's short history in Koevermans, the club isn't exactly top-heavy. Expectations for Plata to be the # 2 striker may be too lofty and both Soolsma and Johnson have the tendency to disappear for whole matches. A big chance for highly touted Academy product Stefan Vukovic to impress and become the next home-grown Academy graduate.
First Team
A – Academy
SD – SuperDraft pick
S – Supplemental Draft pick

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