The best part of Alex Bono's season may have come after it was over. Earlier this week, Toronto FC announced that they had not picked up the contract options on either of their two first team keepers, opening the door to the starting position. It's likely that they bring in another keeper next year, but Bono could be primed for first team minutes next season.
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There were a lot of questions when Toronto selected Bono with the sixth overall pick in this past season's MLS Superdraft, as it didn't seem like a need at the time. The double exit of Bendik and Konopka answered those questions.
The 21 year old Bono seems to have the inside track on Quillan Roberts based on everything that Toronto have exhibited this past season. It was reported that late in the year they were considering giving Bono a game, but things got too tight with their playoff run and they gave Joe Bendik their final home match against Columbus Crew as well.
It's not surprising, he was a player drafted by Tim Bezbatchenko and Greg Vanney and as such they definitely want to make sure that he plays as much as possible and demonstrates why they drafted him. Be that to use him as trade bait in the future or to groom him as a future starter, this happens in every sport.
While it was the club's intention, Bono did not end up playing any minutes in Major League Soccer, but he did join the team for friendly matches against Sunderland and Manchester City. He was especially impressive against City, making several saves including one with his face against attacker David Silva.
Another promising sign was the fact that Bono was called up for the American national team for a camp before the season started. While he evidently didn't play it is good to know that he is on Jurgen Klingsmann's radar for his talent.
Where Bono spent most of the season was splitting the net with Roberts in the USL. He played in 12 games for Toronto FC II, starting in 9 of them. He had a less than impressive 2-8-0 record, albeit on a bad Toronto FC II team. He had a 2.27 goals against average and a .597 save percentage and a clean sheet.
Neither of these statistics were very good, especially compared to what Roberts put up as the team's starting goaltender. However, Roberts had the advantage of having started at the USL level in the past, and didn't have the professional learning curve that Bono required.
Whether or not Bono does get a first team position with Toronto FC next season remains to be seen, but at worst he will be the starter for Toronto FC II and get plenty of professional experience. In fact that later option might be better for Bono, he will get more playing time and be able to be a leader on a young Toronto FC side.
Bono is going to get his chance next season, and the small first team sample size this season would indicate that he is ready to take that chance.