Home MLS Toronto FC Only one trialist in Toronto FC camp right now — and that’s a big change

Only one trialist in Toronto FC camp right now — and that’s a big change

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Maybe the biggest surprise of Toronto FC’s travelling roster for the upcoming Walt Disney World Classic is just how few trialists are on the list.

The only trialist currently with the team is Trinidad and Tobago international Joevin Jones. (FEB. 7 UPDATE: TFC has also added Argentine winger Nicolas Cabrera, a veteran who most notably spent some time at Independiente, the same club from which TFC scouted Pablo Vitti.) Like a lot of players looking for work, the W Connection product has a YouTube highlight reel. But, frankly, when you view it, the quality of the games on the reel is so poor, the defensive mistakes so elementary, that it’s impossible to judge Jones’s talent level.

With three academy prospects — Jonathan Osorio, Derrick Bassi and Daniel Fabrizi — on the trip to Florida, homegrown trialists (if you will) outnumber the whisked-in trialists by a 3:1 ratio. That could be a sign of the times in MLS, where academies will produce more and more prospects, leaving less room at the inn for the longshots who so often come to MLS teams on trial.

The tournament will see TFC play its first preseason games of the year — and the action begins in Orlando on Saturday afternoon, when the Reds will face the Columbus Crew. The Walt Disney World Classic also features the Montreal Impact, the NASL champion Tampa Bay Rowdies and the USL’s Orlando City squad.

In the past, TFC fans have seen more trialists than they could count on the scene. And, as any coach will tell you, a few trialists are good for the team — they push the existing players as they try to impress. But if you bring in too many, they can take valuable time away from the core players on the team who need the prep time. Last year’s TFC camp saw the team play too few games — and in the games that the Reds did play, then-coach Aron Winter used most of the minutes on longshot prospects and players who didn’t have much of a chance to be starting XI players. The rust was obvious when TFC started the season.

Preseason is a balance between giving the new guys their fair chances and making sure the established players get the minutes they need. Maybe less is more when it comes to trialists.

With just one trialist in camp, it allows TFC more time to break in draft prospects like Emery Welshman and Kyle Bekker; and also give Supplemental Draft Picks like Ashton Bennett more of a fair shake. And it creates more room for Academy players to display they’re ready to make the jump.

TFC Roster for Orlando
2 – Logan Emory – D
3 – Danny Califf – D
4 – Doneil Henry – D
5 – Ashtone Morgan – D
6 – Gale Agbossoumonde – D
8 – Kyle Bekker – M
9 – Emery Welshman – F
11 – Luis Silva – M
12 – Joe Bendik – GK
14 – Danny Koevermans – F
15 – Matt Stinson – M
17 – Justin Braun – F
19 – Reggie Lambe – F
20 – Jose Gomez – M
21 – Nik Robson – M
22 – Torsten Frings – M
23 – Terry Dunfield – M
24 – Stefan Frei – GK
25 – Jeremy Hall – D
26 – Ashton Bennett – F
27 – Richard Eckersley – D
28 – Taylor Morgan – F
31 – Joevin Jones – D/M (Trialist)
32 – Andrew Wiedeman – F
35 – Jonathan Osorio – M (Academy)
36 – Daniel Fabrizi – D (Academy)
37 – Derrick Bassi – D (Academy)
40 – Quillan Roberts – GK
48 – Darren O’Dea – D
55 – Julio Cesar – M

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