Toronto FC were certainly active during the summer window and though they didn't manage to bring in the big name signing that many fans were hoping for they did manage to bring in some players who looked to be quality additions. It seemed at the time that a number of signings would be working their way into the starting lineup as soon as they were match fit but thus far that is not happening as TFC's summer signings have precious few minutes of playing time between them.
TFC signed Alvaro Rey, Jonas Elmer, and Maximiliano Urruti this summer out of the international market; they brought in Mark Bloom on loan; they traded for Michael Thomas from Sporting Kansas City; and they signed Manuel Aparicio to a home grown player deal. That was a lot of new bodies coming in over a short period of time and looked to be the start of a shift in the way the clubs roster looks on the field but since then those six players have totalled a combined 142 minutes in MLS action.
Rey is leading the way for the group having featured in five games since joining the club. He has gotten 93 minutes under his belt including one start where he went 55 minutes before being taken off. His other four appearances have been brief stints coming off the bench to try and add something late in the match. He has looked good in his limited appearances and with Matias Laba injured and Jonathan Osorio preparing to join up with the Canadian National Team there should be more minutes coming his way soon.
Maximiliano Urruti has played the second most minutes of the bunch having logged 37 minutes in two substitute appearances. His lack of minutes are understandable considering that he was not match fit when he arrived having only started twice in the previous two months with Newell's Old Boys but it is not like TFC is scoring goals for fun this season. For now it seems that Urruti is behind Robert Earnshaw and Andrew Wiedeman but when the latter's goal scoring dries up the Argentine should be in line for some minutes.
After all the time that TFC spent trying to bring in Urruti and the expectations among the fans upon his arrival it would be good to see him get an extended look in the team. Having him wait on the bench and only make brief cameos would be fine if the likes of Earnshaw, Wiedeman, and Justin Braun were scoring at a good rate but they are not as that trio have combined to notch just 10 goals in 42 combined appearances. One would hope that Urruti could at least help to improve that rate even if he is a bit behind on his fitness.
After those two the minutes drop off even further. Michael Thomas has managed to get into just one game and that was for a 12 minute substitute appearance. Even with the injury to Laba he has not found a way onto the field due to Nelsen shifting away from his reliance on two holding midfielders. Thomas remains firmly behind Jeremy Hall on the depth chart which was to be expected considering he was brought in with an eye towards providing affordable, domestic depth in the middle of the park.
The remaining three have yet to see a single minute for the team. In the case of Manuel Aparicio that is understandable as the teenager has been busy representing Canada with the U-18 team since signing his deal and is clearly one for the future more so than the present.
The other two are a bit more puzzling as when Toronto added a pair of left backs in Elmer and Bloom it was at a time when Ashtone Morgan was caught in a run of poor form that had lasted over a year. He has since turned it around which has meant Elmer being stuck to the bench and Bloom being nowhere to be found.
Having Bloom around just to make up the numbers in training is fine considering he is not making much money and is domestic but it seems odd to loan a player from an NASL club and then not make use of him. For the sake of the player it would probably be better for him to be playing competitive minutes for the Atlanta Silverbacks rather than just training with TFC.
It should only be a matter of time before Elmer sees the field even with Morgan playing well of late. The good news for the Swiss defender is that Morgan will be heading off to join up with the Canadian National Team soon and that will open up a spot for him on the back line to at least get some action. Considering that he was not signed on the cheap it will be good to actually see what he can bring to the table.
With Toronto still having eight games left on their schedule there is still some time to get a look at this group of players. With four players heading off on national team duty the next match against the Portland Timbers represents a good chance to change up the lineup and maybe give extended minutes to Urruti, Rey, and Elmer.
Considering that these final eight games are basically pointless for TFC in terms of actually being able to get anything from the season it would be nice to see more players get an extended look from the coaching staff. That way there will be a clearer picture of what the team needs to add this offseason and which players are worth brining back.
It is unlikely that Thomas, Bloom, or Aparicio will get many minutes this season but with Urruti, Rey, and Elmer being the big additions of the summer window fans will be getting anxious to get a better look at what they have to offer. Hopefully after a few weeks of training with the team and working on fitness they will be ready for that extended look in the coming weeks as time is running out on the 2013 season.