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Toronto FC continue to finalize roster with Orlando City double-header

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Clement Simonin was a notable inclusion in the Reds’ lineup in the first of two friendlies.

MLS: Chicago Fire at Toronto FC John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Toronto FC played back-to-back friendlies in the Florida sun against Orlando City on Sunday, winning both by scorelines of 3-1 and 4-0. Neil Davidson of the Canadian Press is travelling with the team and you can read his report of both fixtures here.

Neither game was broadcast or streamed, but here’s a few thoughts from the information we have available:

  • It will be interesting to find out what Greg Vanney plans to do with Clement Simonin, who started in what was otherwise the MLS Cup final lineup in the first friendly. With Nick Hagglund and Chris Mavinga both seemingly available, later appearing in the second game, Toronto either plan to sign Simonin to their first-team roster or wanted to have another good look at him before making a decision ahead of the start of the season.
  • Simonin is left-footed and, like Mavinga, could offer some balance in that respect between Justin Morrow and Drew Moor. “I feel more comfortable in that three-man backline because it’s easier to get on my left foot and I feel like I have more options on the ball, so it’s a great feeling for me to be in this formation,” Simonin said.
  • If Simonin is signed and backs up Mavinga (who I still think will be the clear starter once he is fit and settled), Eriq Zavaleta and Hagglund compete for the spot on the right and Drew Moor is backed up please-god-don’t-get-hurt in the middle, that leaves Brandon Aubrey as the odd man out. Trialist Johan Brunell started ahead of him in the second friendly, so though Aubrey will be on the MLS roster as a first-round draft pick he looks to be headed to TFC II on loan for the season. Which is fine.
  • At wing-back, Oyvind Alseth and Raheem Edwards started the second friendly. Unless he has really impressed in preseason it seems a stretch to put Alseth on the first team, but he has earned a decent amount of minutes and looks like an intriguing option for TFC II. Wing-back is probably a fairly new role for Edwards but if he takes to it he could have a chance to capitalize on Ashtone Morgan’s ongoing injury problems.
  • Mark Pais, a goalkeeper last with Saint Louis of the USL, is on trial and played the second friendly. He’s competing with Robert Moewes - who has been travelling between camp and Duke University, where he is completing his studies - for a role with TFC II, where Angelo Cavalluzzo is already signed but Quillan Roberts has departed.
  • Expect Ben Spencer to lead the line for TFC II this year. Spencer, a 6’ 5” unit of a centre forward, has had a lot of injury problems but appears to be over them now and is highly thought of by Vanney, who has a history with him. The 21-year-old started the second friendly and scored an early goal. Before a long spell on the sidelines with a serious knee injury, Spencer had an impressive record with the U.S. Under-18 and Under-20 teams.

Toronto play Minnesota United on Wednesday, a game likely to be split between players as a lighter workout, before their final match of preseason against the Chicago Fire on Saturday.