Toronto FC fans continue to await reinforcements for the club’s roster as the start of the MLS season draws ever closer, and so does John Herdman.
The head coach has already said recently that he hopes TFC get new acquisitions through the door during this second phase of preseason, which officially kicks off on Saturday with a friendly against MLS Cup winners the Columbus Crew. But he acknowledges that bringing in new faces depends on the club finding the “right people” and making space for them on the roster and in the salary cap.
“What I can say is that I’m expecting some signings in the next two weeks,” Herdman said on Friday, per the Canadian Press’ Neil Davidson. “I would assume I’m going to have some in prior to that LAFC game [on Feb. 17]. That would be the mission of the front office to make sure that I can get at least a game or two under the belt of any new signing.
“I know the club is working hard and speaking to some key players and some are closer than others to [get] across the line. But what I’m learning is you can get close and the next minute it’s gone.”
While new official additions have not been forthcoming, other than the arrival of Honduras midfielder Deybi Flores, there could be some new faces involved in the friendly action against the Crew on Saturday.
Per Davidson, multiple unnamed trialists are currently in camp and it’s fair to suggest they may see game action on Saturday and later this week. Whether we get any names or insight into who those players are remains to be seen but the club currently seems unwilling to divulge any information.
Ramping up phase two of their preseason camp in California, Toronto FC play three friendlies this week starting with a clash with MLS Cup winners Columbus Crew on Saturday. As with the Nashville workout, Saturday’s game vs. the Crew will consist of two 60-minute games.
Some existing squad members will sit out much if not all of the Crew games, potentially including Lorenzo Insigne and Federico Bernardeschi, each of whom scored in the first preseason win over Nashville last week in Florida.
Herdman said both Italian DPs are healthy but added that he may manage their minutes heavily this week. “I think I’ll be using as much as I can for more of an assessment of players and for the guys I know about, I can prioritize their minutes when they’re fully recovered and ready to go.”
Meanwhile, Adama Diomande, who saw just 166 minutes of league action last season due to injury, is still not ready for game time, even in a non-competitive environment.
No. 1 draft pick Tyrese Spicer is recovering from a fractured toe and Herdman hopes that Spicer will be ready to enter the fray against Real Salt Lake on Wednesday.
“We had such a rough season last season with injuries, we want to make sure we get to the starting line with people healthy, ready to go,” Herdman said “[Spicer] will be progressively phased through the Salt Lake and LAFC games.”