Toronto FC have announced that Armando Cooper and Ben Spencer are among eight players who have not had the options in their contracts picked up for 2018.
Mark Pais, Brandon Aubrey, Oyvind Alseth, Sergio Camargo, Benoit Cheyrou and Tsubasa Endoh will also have to wait to find out their future with the club.
It is not impossible that they return next season. Per a club release, it is likely that they will all be invited to preseason training in January.
The probability of each player re-signing, though, varies.
Cooper’s time in Toronto may be up. After making a strong impact at the end of the 2016 season, he endured a poor start to the 2017 campaign and never won his place in the starting lineup back.
A handful of encouraging outings on the bench in the second half of the year will have helped his cause, and he is familiar with the kind of opponents Toronto will be facing in the CONCACAF Champions League.
At $200,000 in guaranteed compensation, though, he may prove too expensive to keep without a pay cut. Cooper may prefer to look elsewhere himself as he seeks to solidify his place in the Panama squad ahead of the country’s first ever trip to the World Cup finals next summer.
Spencer appeared to have a fan in head coach Greg Vanney, who saw him as a project, but struggled to make his mark in MLS games. He will likely have to play his way back on to the roster in preseason.
The same goes for Alseth, who was a pleasant surprise as a late draft pick and performed solidly after signing a first-team deal but has had added competition to deal with since the signing of Nicolas Hasler.
Pais, Aubrey, Camargo and Endoh - whose star has fallen somewhat after a promising start to life in MLS - may be playing to earn USL contracts with TFC II. Aubrey and Camargo were eligible for the Waiver Draft but went unselected.
Cheyrou, now 36, will decide whether or not to retire and could join the club’s coaching staff if he does.
Alex Bono, Justin Morrow, Jonathan Osorio, Jay Chapman and Jordan Hamilton have had their options exercised, while Eriq Zavaleta is out of contract but TFC retain his rights. He is likely to be negotiating a new deal.
Drew Moor, Steven Beitashour and Jason Hernandez are free agents. Reds general manager Tim Bezbatchenko has expressed a desire to re-sign all of them, salary demands permitting.
The full first-team roster as it stands is currently as follows:
Under contract: Clint Irwin, Ashtone Morgan, Chris Mavinga, Nick Hagglund, Nicolas Hasler, Michael Bradley, Marky Delgado, Victor Vazquez, Sebastian Giovinco, Jozy Altidore, Tosaint Ricketts
Options exercised: Alex Bono, Justin Morrow, Jonathan Osorio, Jay Chapman, Jordan Hamilton
Out of contract but rights held: Eriq Zavaleta
Free agents: Drew Moor, Steven Beitashour, Jason Hernandez
Options not exercised: Mark Pais, Brandon Aubrey, Oyvind Alseth, Sergio Camargo, Armando Cooper, Benoit Cheyrou, Ben Spencer, Tsubasa Endoh