Toronto FC are heading into preseason with what is essentially a full roster. They currently have 27 players under contract and when Jermain Defoe officially makes the move over from Tottenham Hotspur that will bring the number to 28. Add the three draft picks that Toronto will have with them for preseason and that leaves them with very little space to work with on the 30-man roster that MLS allows clubs to carry.
There is of course a good chance to some of the players currently on the roster will not be around come the start of the season. Richard Eckersley is the most likely to be headed for the exit but it would be a surprise if he were the only player to leave the club in the coming weeks as they work to finalize the roster.
That should mean one major difference between this year's preseason camp and those of past years. That constant stream of trialists should be much smaller as there are far fewer spots on the roster for them to compete for. Ryan Nelsen did indicate that they still planned on having a few trialists join them during the preseason but the number would be greatly reduced from what we saw last season after he first took over the club.
The first potential name linked to a trial with the club came out on twitter Thursday morning
Hearing Canadian international Issey Nakajima-Farran will join Toronto FC on trial during preseason #MLS— Luke Wileman (@LukeWileman) January 23, 2014
Nakajima-Farran has managed to make 27 appearances for Canada since getting his first cap back in 2006 but the 29-year-old has struggled to find a club to call home in recent years. He has made stops in Singapore, Denmark, Australia, and Cyprus during his career but has never really been able to break through at any club and stay put for more than a couple of seasons.
When he has gotten a good run of games in his career he has done well with his chances. Playing as a winger or an attacking midfielder he had a good scoring record early in his career. The scoring has slowed down in recent years and his only goal for Canada came back in 2008 during a 3-0 win over Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.
It is hard to see where a player like Nakajima-Farran would fit on TFC's roster though. The club has made a number of moves already this offseason to strengthen their options out wide and if he were to play his natural position on the right-wing he would probably be behind the likes of Alvaro Rey, Jackson, and even Jonathan Osorio for playing time. Having depth is good but there are now more pressing needs in the roster than adding wide players. With so few open spots on the roster to work with it would seem foolish to spend one on another winger.
With Toronto FC players reporting to physical testing this week it is likely that we will get a better picture of what the roster will be like for the club's camp in Bradenton, Florida. It is possible that Nakajimi-Farran will be with the team on trial but it would be a bit of a surprise to see him stick around.