“It’s a loss and it’s a gain,” Payne said. “It’s hard to replace a guy who’s played in two World Cups but now we have a designated-player slot, an international slot and cap money available… We’re playing catch-up with the roster. There’s a lot of stuff that has to happen in a short period of time.”
Payne cited six possible new acquisitions in the offing, with Frings’ DP slot potentially being filled by an unnamed young forward from Argentina who Payne said TFC chief scout Pat Onstad is trying to sign. A more immediate addition could be Queens Park Rangers striker Hogan Ephraim, as Payne said he was hopeful that the 24-year-old Ephraim would be signed to a loan agreement within the next couple of days.
Two other English football names (Welsh striker Robert Earnshaw and Tottenham midfielder John Bostock) will also be joining the Reds in camp for trials, and members of TFC’s coaching staff recently traveled to Honduras to scout two players with the assistance of ex-Toronto star Amado Guevara. All of these players would come in on loan, and while it remains to be seen how many will actually end up wearing the TFC shirt, there is no doubt the team won’t have a full or first-choice roster in play for Saturday’s season open against Vancouver.
(ED. UPDATE. On Tuesday night, at the team’s fan event, TFC revealed that Ephraim was now officially a Red, and that the club had also signed academy prospect Jonathan Osorio and Supplemental Draft pick Taylor Morgan).
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