Toronto FC’s preseason officially began today as players reported to the BMO Training Ground, and the Reds announced a few important player moves. The club confirmed midfielder Armando Cooper’s departure, and mentioned that defender Eriq Zavaleta’s new contract is essentially completed.
Update: Zavaleta’s re-signing is now official. We don’t know details of the contract, but he’ll be back for TFC in 2018.
As we already knew they would, TFC have officially announced Eriq Zavaleta's re-signing. #TFCLive— Charlie O’Connor-Clarke (@charliejclarke) January 23, 2018
Greg Vanney also revealed a slew of other players who won’t be returning: Oyvind Alseth, Brandon Aubrey, Sergio Camargo, and Mark Pais are all gone, but it looks like Ben Spencer will be back, as will Tsubasa Endoh on a trial basis.
Oyvind Alseth - "as of right now, probably not coming back". Has opportunities outside of MLS. #TFCLive— Oliver Platt (@plattoli) January 22, 2018
Brandon Aubrey, Sergio Camargo and Mark Pais won't be back. #TFCLive— Oliver Platt (@plattoli) January 22, 2018
None of Aubrey, Camargo, or Pais appeared for TFC in 2017, but they all spent time with in the USL with Toronto FC II. Both Aubrey and Alseth have been released just one year after the Reds drafted them last January (Aubrey in the first round).
The good news is certainly that Zavaleta will be back with the club, after being a key part of TFC’s rock-solid back line in 2017. Vanney also mentioned that centre-back Jason Hernandez is in talks for a new contract as well.
In terms of incoming transfers, Vanney said that he expects to add a couple of players, particularly a midfielder and defender down the right side, but the club is in no rush.
The other big news Vanney let slip was that Jason Bent, who was head coach of TFC II since 2015, has moved up to join his coaching staff with the first team.
The Reds will depart for Los Angeles today, with training starting tomorrow at UC Irvine. Their first preseason friendly will be on January 27 against UC Irvine, followed by games against Cal State Fullerton, Club Tijuana, and Los Angeles FC.
TFC will also spend a training stint in Mexico from February 6-14 in preparation for the CONCACAF Champions League (which kicks off on February 20 in Colorado).