Toronto FC's list of walking wounded is not going to be any shorter in time for the team's game against the Montreal Impact. The absences will certainly make for some interesting roster decisions for Greg Vanney as he has to figure out how to best deal with the busy weeks that are ahead of his team.
Vanney will be without his first choice keeper on Wednesday night as Joe Bendik remains sidelined with the injury that kept him out this past weekend against the Philadelphia Union. Mark Bloom is still making his way back from injury along with another key member of the back four as Steven Caldwell's return date remains unclear. Add in Clement Simonin and the injury report for the team remains unchanged from what we saw on the weekend.
The big news ahead of the game is that Vanney confirmed to Neil Davidson of the Canadian Press what many of us suspected would be the case:
Vanney says Bloom, Caldwell and Bendik not expected to play in Montreal. Not all DPs will make trip with #torontoFC— Neil Davidson (@NeilMDavidson) May 4, 2015
The question now is just what kind of lineup will be left for Vanney by the time that he brings the team to Montreal. It could very well be a very reserve heavy squad with the likes of Luke Moore, Eriq Zavaleta, and Marco Delgado being tasked with keeping the team's hopes alive in the domestic competition.
A stripped down roster filled with young players and reserves may not be what many fans are hoping to see but it seems to be quite clear that the focus of Toronto FC is on making the MLS playoffs this year. If that is the primary objective for Vanney and his squad then it makes sense to use these two games against Montreal to rest some players and give minutes to a few of his fringe guys. Given how heavy the MLS schedule becomes for the team moving forward the chances for rest are going to be limited.
What TFC will not be able to do is call up a squad filled with Toronto FC II players. They will be able to recall anyone that is on a MLS contract but not guys who are signed to USL deals. This is a bit of a change from previous years where teams could use academy players who were not signed to professional contracts in the cup competition which we saw the Vancouver Whitecaps do last year. Unsigned academy players can still be used just not guys on USL deals.
For Toronto FC that means Alex Bono, Quillan Roberts, Manuel Aparicio, Chris Mannella, Jay Chapmna, and Jordan Hamilton could all be recalled to the first team for this match since they are on MLS deals. It would not be a surprise to see a number of them make the 18 given that Toronto FC II had a bye week this past weekend so that group should be well rested.
No matter how you feel about what kind of roster the team should be playing in the Voyageurs Cup we now have a decent idea of what we will get from Vanney. What is clear is that we will not see the full A-team but we will have to wait to find out just how many of the reserves will feature.