Toronto FC have some tough roster decisions ahead, and a 1-1 draw in a scrimmage with the New York Red Bulls today may have made them even harder. That's in part because Mo Babouli refuses to go quietly back to Toronto FC II, again scoring today for the senior side.
The 23-year-old winger has had a strong preseason by all accounts, and is looking to parlay that into a senior contract and one of the final roster spots. This won't be an easy task, however, as Babouli is likely in competition with first round pick Tsubasa Endoh for that contract and spot.
Babouli's 65th minute goal was largely due to the work of Jordan Hamilton down the wing, who has also had a strong preseason ahead of an important year for his career. He would cut the ball back to Babouli who finished it low and to the corner.
Today's scrimmage was only 70 minutes long, which must have seemed like a dream for TFC fans who have too often seen their team concede a late goal in the 80th minute and beyond. Nick Hagglund scored on his own net as the lone goal for the New York Red Bulls.
The Red Bulls were playing Toronto in their second match of the day after beating University of Central Florida 5-2. Lloyd Sam, Connor Lade, Sean Davis and Anatole Abang were the notable starters for New York.
Like New York, Toronto FC's lineup would be a mixture of veterans and young players. Quillan Roberts would play the full match in goal with Nick Hagglund and Wes Charpie in defense. Daniel Lovitz and Eriq Zavaleta would also start in the backline, but would be replaced by Mark Bloom and Josh Williams respectively.
The club's midfield was made up of a combination of youth and experience with Benoit Cheyrou playing alongside Jay Chapman and 2016 draft pick Brian James, with Cheyrou eventually being replaced by Herculez Gomez. Up front Toronto would play the young trio of Babouli, Hamilton and 2016 draft pick Darius Madison.
The club were resting the majority of their other players for a closed door friendly they will play tomorrow against Orlando City SC. Toronto lost 1-0 to Orlando City B earlier in the week and will be looking for their first win in Florida against the senior Orlando team.
That match will be played at 1 p.m. eastern, and will not be streamed.