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Where Are They Now? | Toronto FC’s 18-man squad from the 2016 MLS season opener

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Ahead of Toronto FC’s opening fixture of the 2021 MLS campaign, let’s throw it back to five years ago…

Toronto FC v New York Red Bulls
Sebastian Giovinco #10 of Toronto FC celebrates his goal against the New York Red Bulls during their match at Red Bull Arena on March 6, 2016 in Harrison, New Jersey.
Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

TORONTO, Canada—This Saturday, April 17, Toronto FC will open their 2021 MLS season against C.F. Montreal at the DRV PNK Stadium in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, but just over five years ago now, TFC were in Harrison, New Jersey taking on the New York Red Bulls in match-day one of the 2016 campaign. Time really flies doesn’t it?

In 2016, TFC made just its second play off appearance, but more importantly, reached their first ever MLS Cup final, which was a testament to the immense growth and development of Toronto’s MLS franchise since their debut campaign in 2007.

Toronto’s road to their first final began against the Red Bulls on March 6, where a late penalty from Sebastian Giovinco and a 91st minute strike from Marco Delgado gave The Reds a hard-fought 2-0 win to kick-start their season.

So who exactly was in the squad for the match and where are those 18 players now?


STARTING XI

Clint Irwin

Current Club: Colorado Rapids

The American goalkeeper kept a clean sheet in his competitive debut for TFC and went on to play a total of 28 games in all competitions that season, which included the heartbreaking MLS Cup final defeat to the Seattle Sounders. He was crowned an MLS champion the following year, but lost his place in the starting lineup to Alex Bono.

Irwin only played a combined total of 21 games between 2017 and 2018 and was eventually traded to the Colorado Rapids ahead of the 2019 season.

MLS: Canadian Championship Final-Toronto FC at Vancouver Whitecaps FC

Steven Beitashour

Current Club: Colorado Rapids

Like Irwin, Beitashour also made his TFC debut in the victory over the Red Bulls. During his two years in Toronto, the defender started and played the full game in both the 2016 and 2017 MLS Cup finals. The domestic treble winning season proved to be the Iranian’s last, as he signed for LAFC ahead of their inaugural MLS campaign in 2018.

In September 2020, Beitashour then joined the Colorado Rapids on a one-year deal following his release by The Black and Gold.

Damien Perquis

Retired

After playing 26 games in 2015, the French-born Polish defender would have hoped for more opportunities in his sophomore year in Toronto. Despite starting the season opener, Perquis played just 12 times in all competitions and was not in the 18-man squad for the MLS Cup final.

He parted ways with TFC at the end of the campaign and signed for EFL Championship side Nottingham Forest. One season there was followed by two years at Gazélec Ajaccio in the third division of French football before deciding to retire in June 2020.

Drew Moor

Current Club: Colorado Rapids

Moor was a vital player for TFC in both his debut season in 2016 and the treble winning campaign one year later. He was yet another TFC debutant in the win over the Red Bulls, the first of 41 games for the American in 2016. The defender played the full 120 minutes of his first MLS Cup final with TFC, as well as the full 90 the following year.

An injury-plagued final two years with Toronto limited his first team opportunities and at the end of 2019, Moor signed for the Colorado Rapids on a free transfer.

Toronto FC v Montreal Impact - Eastern Conference Finals - Leg 1

Justin Morrow

Current Club: Toronto FC

Arguably one of TFC’s most consistent players in the last few years, Morrow has made over 200 appearances for the club and after returning to the first team with a goal against Club León earlier this week, the American will have his eyes on a fruitful 2021 campaign.

His most memorable moment in a Toronto shirt is undoubtedly his hat-trick over the Red Bulls which clinched the 2017 Supporters’ Shield for Morrow and company, which was a sign of the full-back’s true character following his penalty miss in the 2016 MLS Cup final shootout.

Michael Bradley

Current Club: Toronto FC

An absolute icon at the club, Bradley has been an engine in midfield since his arrival from AS Roma in 2014. He was a crucial part of Toronto’s most successful period in history and based on his inspiring performance against Club León on Wednesday, TFC’s captain has his sights firmly set on a momentous year for him and the club.

Bradley played just 14 games last year, so expect a rejuvenated figure to lead the way for Toronto in 2021.

Will Johnson

Free Agent

The Canadian midfielder made his debut against the Red Bulls and scored three goals in 32 games in 2016, in addition to coming off the bench in the MLS Cup final defeat to Seattle.

His penalty kick in the shootout, which he scored, was his final kick of a ball for TFC as he was signed by Orlando City at the end of the year. In 2019, Johnson was released by Orlando and is still without a club.

Toronto FC v Montreal Impact - Eastern Conference Finals - Leg 1

Jonathan Osorio

Current Club: Toronto FC

As The Reds’ most capped player, Osorio has cemented a place in Toronto FC’s folklore having spent his entire career at the club. The Canadian international has been through the bulk of TFC’s transformation into one of MLS’s elite forces and reached the promised land in 2017 after getting revenge on Seatlle in the 2017 MLS Cup final.

Ahead of his ninth season at TFC, the 28-year-old will be hoping to use memories of the treble winning campaign to drive TFC forward following an underwhelming year in 2020.

Tsubasa Endoh

Current Club: Toronto FC

Endoh embodies persistence at its finest. TFC’s first and only Japanese player made his first team debut against the Red Bulls like so many others in this lineup, but from there, the forward only managed two goals in 23 games during the entire 2016 campaign. Endoh was an unused substitute in the 2016 MLS Cup final and was not even in the match-day squad for TFC’s MLS Cup triumph one year later.

Just three goals in two years at the club saw TFC release Endoh at the end of 2017. Yet in mid-2018, TFC II signed him and the Japanese forward made an immediate impact, which was enough for Toronto to offer Endoh a senior contract to rejoin the first team. Let’s see what he’ll bring to the side in 2021.

Daniel Lovitz

Current Club: Nashville SC

Drafted in the second round of the 2014 MLS SuperDraft, Lovitz’s time in Toronto was uninspiring to say the least. He may have started the 2016 season opener, but the American made just 46 appearances in three years before signing for Montreal in early 2017.

Two years in Quebec was followed by a transfer to Nashville SC, where he is still contracted to this day.

Sebastian Giovinco

Current Club: Al Hilal

Arguably TFC’s greatest player in history, Giovinco was coming off the back of an MVP-winning debut season in 2015, so expectations were evidently high for the Italian to deliver once again. His penalty in the win over the Red Bulls was the first of 22 goals in 2016, and he went on to score 38 more before leaving Toronto in 2019 for Saudi Arabian side Al Hilal.

Giovinco enjoyed the peak of his career in Toronto and will forever be cherished as a club legend for years to come.

Toronto FC v Montreal Impact - Eastern Conference Finals - Leg 1

BENCH

Quillan Roberts

Free Agent

The Toronto-born keeper never made a senior appearance in his four years at the club, and was ultimately released at the end of 2016 season. After playing for the York University Lions for one year, Roberts was signed by LAFC in May 2018, but was let go by the side six months later.

In 2019, the keeper joined Forge FC where he made eight league appearances in his debut campaign. Less than a year later, Forge announced the keeper would not be returning to the club and Roberts has since been a free agent.

Ashtone Morgan

Current Club: Real Salt Lake

Morgan spent over 10 years at TFC, ranging from the start of his academy career in 2008 to his final first team season in 2019. A cult hero, Morgan made 168 senior appearances between 2010 and 2019. The end of his tenure in Toronto came in early 2020 when he signed for Real Salt Lake.

Nick Hagglund

Current Club: FC Cincinnati

Hagglund is argubaly one of Toronto’s best draft picks in the club’s history. The defender played over 100 games for TFC, including the 2016 and 2017 MLS Cup finals (started in 2016, came off the bench in 2017). Having spent five years at the club, Hagglund left for newly founded FC Cincinnati in 2019.

Toronto FC v Montreal Impact - Eastern Conference Finals - Leg 1

Benoît Cheyrou

Retired

Toronto FC was Cheyrou’s final club before retiring and the Frenchman ended his footballing career as an MLS champion in 2017. He played 68 games in three years at the club, including a brief cameo appearance in the 2017 cup final, his last-ever match as a professional player.

Mo Babouli

Current Club: Forge FC

Born in the United Arab Emirates, Babouli worked his way into the TFC first team from the academy and made a total of 20 appearances during the 2016 campaign, but was then released by the club in April 2017. A short stint at Sigma FC in League1 Ontario was followed by a move to Syrian club Al-Ittihad.

Just over a year later, Babouli returned to Canada and played for the Mississauga MetroStars and FC Ukraine United between 2018 and 2020. He then joined Forge FC in the CPL where he was crowned a league champion last season.

Mark Delgado

Current Club: Toronto FC

One of the most loyal servants in TFC history, Delgado came off the bench in the win over the Red Bulls and scored TFC’s second in injury time. Still just 25 years of age, Delgado has played almost 200 games for Toronto and while he is not the most prolific goalscorer, his work rate is undeniable and is always a key player in high-calibre games.

Fans will surely be excited for what their No. 8 will bring to the squad this season.

Josh Williams

Current Club: Columbus Crew

Williams made just 28 appearances in one and a half years in Toronto and was an unused substitute in the 2016 MLS Cup final. That was the last time his name was on the match-day squad list as he entered the 2016 MLS Re-Entry Draft and was selected by the Columbus Crew. The American has since gone on to play almost 100 times for the Crew.

Orlando City Soccer vs. Toronto Football Club MLS game

Will any of the current TFC players from the 18-man squad feature against Montreal this weekend? Let us know in the comments.