With the 2016 Major League Soccer season now less than a month away Toronto FC's roster is finally starting to take shape. The club announced their first set of cuts today as four players were sent down to join Toronto FC II, including centreback Skylar Thomas, draft pick Mitchell Taintor, Luca Uccello and Raheem Edwards.
All four are players of the future who never really had much of a chance to make the team. They will all join Toronto FC II for their upcoming USL season, and another year with the second team will probably be good for the future of these players.
Thomas is the most notable player being sent down, as he was one of the three first round picks the club made in last year's draft. The other two, Clement Simonin and Alex Bono, have a good chance of staying with the first team this season. Simonin even saw minutes in Major League Soccer last season before an injury held him out for most of the year.
Of the players sent down, Uccello probably had the best camp in terms of proving himself as a future option for the club. He scored against Cal State Fullerton in a 4-0 victory and by all accounts had a solid match. At just 18, he will certainly be one to watch with Toronto FC II this year as he becomes an important player on that side.
Another player to watch in the future will be Raheem Edwards. This is going to be an important season in USL for Edwards to set himself apart and make sure he isn't one of the next cuts of next year's preseason. However he remains one of the most promising wingers in Toronto's system, which could make him valuable down the line.
Having been picked in the third round by Toronto FC this year, Taintor has a low statistically probability of ever making the senior Toronto FC team. But Toronto will be hoping he is able to show something at the USL level this year that will make that outside chance look a little more likely down the road.
Now that the club has made its initial cuts things will get interesting. Toronto don't have very many roster spots left for young players like Chris Mannella, Mo Babouli and Tsubasa Endoh to fight for. So if one of these players wants to make the senior roster they will have to fight very hard in the next couple of games.
Toronto are currently undergoing their final leg of preseason training in Orlando, Florida. They play their next game on the 24 against the Montreal Impact.