The 2015 Toronto FC roster took a big step towards becoming more clear on Wednesday as the club announced which players were having their options picked up for the next season. With seven players already under contract for 2015 the club have exercised options on 15 others while recalling one player from loan to bring the roster total to 23.
Dwayne De Rosario, Jeremy Hall, Andrew Wiedeman, and Ryan Richter all had their options declined for 2015 and will be eligible for the re-entry draft if TFC do not work out a new deal with them. They are joined by Bright Dike who's contract expired following the season.
While any of those five players could return to the club next season it would almost certainly have to be at a lower salary figure. Even with the new CBA likely to bring an increased salary cap with it this group of player all played small roles in 2014 but several of the players were making the kind of money that you would be expecting to pay your starters.
The club electing not to pick up the option on De Rosario's contract will certainly raise a number of questions about his playing future. His home coming to Toronto in 2014 was not nearly as glorious as many fans would have dreamed as he was relegated to a very small role and rarely made an impact. If TFC do not work out a new deal with their all time leading scorer it could mean the end of one of the most successful MLS careers ever. It would certainly be a shame to see it end this way when you compare it to how Landon Donovan is about to go out.
The other players coming off the roster are Bradley Orr and Doneil Henry as both of them are heading back to the clubs that own them having wrapped up their loans to Toronto FC. It is possible that either player could return on another loan for next season but for now it leaves TFC looking a bit thin on the back line.
With Steven Caldwell, Michael Bradley, Jackson, Dominic Oduro, Jermain Defoe, and Gilberto already under contract for 2014 the core of the team was assured of being in place for the next year. The tricky part will be which of those players are actually around come first kick with Defoe and Gilberto both linked to moves away from the club after just one season in Toronto.
The biggest surprise of the players to have their contract options picked up might be Ashtone Morgan as he seemed to have fallen out of favour this past season having lost his starting role to Justin Morrow. Losing the job to Morrow was acceptable but under Ryan Nelsen it seemed that Morgan was even behind playing other defenders out of position on the depth chart but with the change of coaches he is set for at least one more season with the club.
The final move that TFC announced today was that Jordan Hamilton has been recalled from his loan. This did not go as well for him in Portugal as the club or player would have hoped with minutes hard to come by and Trofense having nowhere near the infrastructure that the player would have had access to had he stayed in Toronto. Hamilton should now get the chance to fight for minutes with the first team next season while also helping out the USL Pro side when he is not getting first team minutes.
With all those moves completed this is how the 23 man roster currently looks:
Goalkeepers (3): Joe Bendik, Chris Konopka, Quillan Roberts
Defenders (7): Steven Caldwell, Mark Bloom, Justin Morrow, Nick Hagglund, Warren Creavalle, Ashtone Morgan, Chris Mannella
Midfielders (9): Michael Bradley, Jonathan Osorio, Dominic Oduro, Jackson, Kyle Bekker, Collen Warner, Daniel Lovitz, Manny Aparicio, Marco Delgado
Forwards (4): Jermain Defoe, Gilberto, Luke Moore, Jordan Hamilton