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Toronto FC demotes five as roster becomes clear

Five players are heading down to USL as Toronto FC's roster for the 2016 season is now all but set. The good news is that a trio of young Canadians are still with the first team.

Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

Toronto FC's roster for the 2016 season took a big step towards being set on Thursday as the team announced a group of players that would be reporting to the USL side.  Alex Bono, Chris Mannella, Wesley Charpie, Brian James, and Darius Madison are all returning to Toronto to join TFCII.

That means that Quillan Roberts is likely going to start the season as the number 2 option on goal behind Clint Irwin, Jordan Hamilton should be around for forward depth behind the likes of Jozy Altidore and Herculez Gomez, and Molham Babouli continues to be in with a chance of earning a first team contract.

None of the names that are being sent down to TFCII are all that surprising as most of them, with the exception of Bono, were long-shots to actually earn MLS deals this season.  Mannella and Charpie are both talents to keep an eye on in USL this season though as they both have the potential to be contributors to the first team down the road but for now they are just too far down the depth chart for it to be worth keeping them on the first team roster.

The question that these moves raise is how the situation with the goalkeepers is going to play out over the early stages of the season.  The club will need to find playing time for both Roberts and Bono as they continue to develop but that time is unlikely to come with the first team.  Even if Roberts is staying with the MLS side for the rest of the preseason he is likely to wind up spending some time in USL just to get playing time.  Roberts is also likely to feature in the Voyageurs Cup should TFC continue their habit of squad rotation for that competition.

Keeping Roberts, Babouli, and Hamilton with the first team is certainly good for the Canadian content of the squad as it currently looks like the only Canadians that will get regular minutes in the first team this season will be Will Johnson and Jonathan Osorio with Ashtone Morgan having a chance to feature in a depth role.

Toronto still have a few more games of preseason to go before first kick comes around but with this round of moves there are very few question marks left surrounding the roster.  We have a pretty good idea of who is going to make up the ideal starting lineup and now we have a pretty good idea of who will be called upon to provide depth.

The only real question left will be if Mo Babouli signs a home grown deal.  Based on his play up to this point in the preseason it would be hard to argue against him being rewarded with a deal as he provides TFC with a real threat coming off the wings which is an area where they are currently lacking in options.  By adding Babouli and Endoh the team would certainly be able to give opponents a bit of a different look in attack at times.