BRAMPTON, Canada—Toronto FC II announced Wednesday that the club has had to withdraw from the 2020 USL League One season due to public health restrictions in place because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
As soon as the news broke, one of the immediate questions was what will happen to the players under contract with The Young Reds. The Canadian Premier League seems to to be nearing an announcement about their potential return to play, so some players may end up being loaned to those clubs should the season start up again.
The CPL requires clubs to field Canadian players under the age of 21 for at least 1,000 combined minutes per team per season, and with many TFC II players fitting into those requirements, loan deals would provide a great opportunity to pick up a difference maker for a low cost, and eat up some of those U21 minutes.
One Toronto FC II player has already been loaned out to the Canadian Premier League — defender Robert Boskovic was re-signed by The Young Reds back in March and loaned out to Cavalry FC for the 2020 season.
York9 FC would be an ideal team for Toronto FC and Toronto FC II to loan players to due to their proximity to one another, but the Y9 roster seems to be pretty much set for the 2020 season, although nothing is impossible, especially if there are more complications with bringing their international players into Canada, as was the case with Adrian Ugarizza earlier this week.
You’ll notice a theme in this article, as a few clubs could (and perhaps should) sign any number of the players listed below, whereas others have significant chunks of their roster lined up for the 2020 campaign, and probably won't be bringing many (if any) more players.
Keep in mind that until the CPL’s return is made official, it doesn’t make sense to give the green light for any moves. If they’re given the go-ahead, here are some candidates for TFC II to CPL loan moves that would make sense for all parties.
Age: 19 — Position: Striker
Jordan Perruzza had a breakout season for The Young Reds in 2019. He played in 24 of the club’s 28 matches, starting 21 of them, and racking up over 1,800 minutes. He found the back of the net 15 times, finishing second in the Golden Boot race, and was nominated for the league’s Young Player of the Year award. He was also named in the USL League One All-League First team; it was a sensational season for the young striker.
His performances also landed him a spot on the preliminary Canada squad for the 2020 CONCACAF Men’s Olympic Qualifying Championship, which has been postponed because of the ongoing pandemic.
He’s a clinical finisher and has a strong physical presence. With a couple of CPL teams in need of forwards, Perruzza seems like a good candidate for a loan move. Qualifying for the U21 rule is also a huge bonus to any team looking to pick him up.
Atletico Ottawa are one of those teams and only have one striker on the roster, Malcolm Shaw. Valour FC should be another team looking to bring in Perruzza, as they only have two forwards on the roster at the moment.
If Perruzza can play at the level he did last season for TFC II, he could be real difference maker in the CPL,and every team should be inquiring about him if they have a roster spot available.
Age: 19 — Position: Centre-back
Julian Dunn isn’t a TFC II player, as he is signed to a Toronto FC first-team contract, but a loan move seems plausible for the young defender, so I’ve included him here anyway.
Dunn only took the field eight times last season, missing around four months without much explanation. Whatever the reason for his absence was, his contract option was exercised by Toronto FC, and he’s back in red again in 2020.
The promising young defender, still just 19, is currently down in Orlando for the MLS Is Back Tournament, but with a number of MLS veterans ahead of him on the depth chart, a loan deal may be best to get Dunn some regular minutes. He’s a big, physical presence in the backline and dominates in the air.
One club who doesn’t need a central defender, but might be an ideal destination for Dunn, is Forge FC.
Forge already have one of, if not the best centre-back pairing in the league in Daniel Krutzen and David Edgar. Adding Dunn to the fold might seal Forge’s position as the best group of defenders (on paper, anyway), and having him pushing, and being pushed by, a duo like that would really be healthy competition for everyone.
Playing and training with one of the best Canadian defenders ever in David Edgar would be huge for Dunn’s development as well.
Age: 20 — Position: Left Back
The 2019 season was one to remember for Terique Mohammed. The young left back made 20 appearances for TFC II, starting 15 of those games and playing just under 1,500 minutes.
Mohammed picked up eight yellow cards and one red card during his 20 appearances, something he'll want to try and limit, but his intense style of play also works wonders at times. He never stops running and seems to give 110 per cent on the pitch. He won 38 of his 49 attempted tackles (more than 77 per cent), and winning more than 50 per cent of his duels.
He was also a threat offensively in 2019, often operating as more of a wing-back, picking up a pair of goals, adding two assists, and completing a hair under 80 per cent of his 808 attempted passes.
Like Perruzza, Mohammed was named to Canada's preliminary squad for the 2020 CONCACAF Men’s Olympic Qualifying Championship.
While many CPL teams already have a left back or two on the roster, a couple of clubs could be interested in Mohammed. Pacific FC for example have an established left back in Canadian national team veteran Marcel de Jong, but nobody to back him up. Someone with De Jong's experience would be an excellent mentor for a young left back like Mohammed, and a move to Pacific would benefit all parties. Pacific would have a backup for De Jong, Mohammed would get some playing time and have a chance to push for minutes in a young Pacific team that was praised for its use of young players in 2019, and he would get to learn from one of Canada's best in the process.
Atletico Ottawa might also be an option as they look to add to their inaugural squad. They already have a pair of potential left backs in Vashon Neufville and Michel Djaozandry, but Djaozandry is also capable of playing on both flanks, as well operating as a winger, which could allow Mohammed to compete for the left back job with Neufville.
Have your say in the Week 10 Goal of the Week presented by @select_america.— USL League One (@USLLeagueOne) June 3, 2019
▪️ Terique Mohammed (@TorontoFCII)
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▪️ Jose Terrón (@FCTucson)
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Age: 20 — Position: Midfield
Brother of York9 FC’s Michael Petrasso, Luca Petrasso has the distinction of scoring Toronto FC II’s first-ever USL League One goal.
He can play centrally or on either side of the midfield, giving him versatility that is crucial for a league like the CPL, where rosters are limited to a maximum of 23 players. He also played at left-back for Toronto FC during the preseason.
He had an impressive season for TFC II in 2019, playing in 26 of 28 games, scoring twice and adding three assists.
He led TFC II (by far) with 41 chances created, the sixth most in the league and 14 more than Griffin Dorsey for the TFC lead, so he's a bit unlucky to only have the three assists. He completed 81 per cent of his 632 attempted passes, and his production from midfield was vital to The Young Reds’ success in 2019.
The club that might make the most sense, is HFX Wanderers, where he could be a part of an impressive midfield with 2019 standout (with Valour FC) Louis Béland-Goyette, among others, but like his brother, Petrasso could probably hold his own at a number of CPL clubs.
Age: 20 — Position: Midfield
Jordan Faria took the pitch 18 times for The Young Reds in 2019, 10 of them from the start and picked up a goal and an assist in his second professional season. Competing in a large group of talented young wide players, including the likes of Jayden Nelson, Jacob Shaffelburg, Griffin Dorsey and Jahkeele Marshall-Rutty, among others, Faria’s minutes were limited, but he impressed in the time he did have on the field.
In 864 minutes, Faria had a pass completion percentage of just under 83 per cent and made 12 key passes. The goal he scored was a sweet free kick (seen below), placed perfectly into the corner, giving TFC a temporary lead against Chattanooga Red Wolves SC in September.
Clubs who may be interested in Faria could include Atletico Ottawa, Valour FC and Pacific FC. Faria could be a good pickup for any of these three clubs as they look to add depth on the flanks. Those clubs have one, two and three forwards signed, respectively, so Faria could also be pushed a bit further forward if need be, as more of a winger than a wide midfielder.
Age: 21 — Position: Midfield
Signed to a new USL contract last week, Srbely is the oldest player on this last at the grand old age of 21, and is the only one on the list not eligible for the CPL's U21 rule, as he was born in 1998.
A product of the TFC Academy, Srbely has three seasons with The Young Reds under his belt. He’s scored seven goals and added nine assists during his professional career thus far, with four goals and five assists coming in 2019 alone.
Usually deployed in central midfield, he became a regular in Michael Rabasca's team in 2019, taking the pitch 18 times, starting 15 of those matches, missing a bit of time with an injury. He completed 506/591 attempted passes, good for a passing completion percentage of over 85 percent, and was among the league leaders with five assists.
He made the USL League One Team of the Week three times last season, and was ranked by FotMob as the 12th-best player in USL League One based on average rating, with 7.05, the highest on Toronto FC II in 2019.
I think a club interested interested in his services could be HFX Wanderers. They have a few roster spots open still, and could use more depth, as they only have six midfielders on the roster as it stands.
Age: 21 — Position: Right Back, Midfield
Dante Campbell is also capable of playing as a central midfielder, but has spent a lot of time at right back in his TFC II career, which is where I think a CPL team may be interested in bringing him in.
In 15 appearances (14 starts) a year ago, Campbell put in some solid performances on both sides of the ball. Defensively, he won almost 60 per cent of his duels, including 75 per cent of his aerial duels, and offensively completed more than 77 per cent of his more than 600 attempted passes.
The best CPL fit for Campbell may be in Halifax with HFX Wanderers. The Wanderers only have one right back on the roster at the moment, former TFC-II player Mateo Restrepo. Campbell could challenge Restrepo for the job out east, giving him a healthy competition with another young right back, and getting some playing time in a revamped HFX side. Alternatively, Valour FC still have a lot of roster spots to fill and could certainly use a couple more defenders on the roster as they only have five at the moment.
Duane Rollins reported on Thursday that the Canadian Premier League reached out to the three MLS sides, offering loan opportunities to their academy players. According to Duane’s tweet, Vancouver is keen on the idea, and has already sent a player on loan to the CPL — defender Gianfranco Facchineri to Atletico Ottawa. He also reported that Montreal doesn’t plan to send anyone at the moment, and that Toronto FC are yet to respond.
Waking the Red will continue to update you on all of the latest Canadian Premier League and Toronto FC II news as it rolls in.