Toronto FC II have made a big move to strengthen their roster as the club announced that 20-year-old American forward Ben Spencer will join the team on loan. The terms of the loan are one of those MLS secrets so it is unclear how long the 20-year-old will be with the club for.
Spencer, who played in the NASL last season with Indy Eleven, joins TFCII on loan from Molde FK who play in the Norwegian Tippeligaen. It is his second straight season out on loan as the Norwegian club are looking to get the young forward consistent playing time which he has not yet been able to get with the senior team.
Spencer joined Molde in December 2012 having previously been a member Real Salt Lake's academy system. It was at the Grande Sports Academy where Spencer first crossed paths with Greg Vanney. At that time Vanney was running the academy for RSL but he moved to Chivas USA following the 2010-2011 season. Spencer would actually follow him to California and played with the Chivas Academy for 2011-2012 living with Vanney during that time to make the move away from his family work. There is certainly a long running history between Spencer and Vanney so this loan move is just another chapter in that story.
While Spencer has yet to really get his club career going he has been a regular name around the various different US youth national teams. He has represented his country at the U18, U20, and most recently the U23 level. He is expected to represent the United States at the U-20 World Cup later this year having played a big role in helping them qualify for the event, scoring twice in the CONCACAF U-20 Championships including the goal that would prove to be the winner in the United States' playoff victory over El Salvador which secured their place in the World Cup.
The signing of Spencer on loan is an interesting move from a Toronto FC II perspective since he is the first player to be brought in that is connected to another club. Everyone else on the roster is getting minutes to hopefully develop into a player for the first team down the road but Spencer would be getting minutes to develop for Molde.
Spencer will certainly bring some quality to TFCII and provides another quality scoring threat in the attack along with Jordan Hamilton. His presence on the roster will also allow the likes of Molham Babouli, Sal Bernal, and Edwin Rivas to be developed in that wider role rather than trying to force them into a role as central forwards.
So the move for Spencer makes sense in a number of regards given the quality he adds to the team and his relationship to Vanney. The one concern would be him taking minutes away from any of TFC's own developing talent but that concern could be mitigated if Toronto FC like what they see and can work out a deal with Molde to keep the forward around. Given his connections to Vanney it would not be a surprise to see Spencer stick around for more than just a few months.