[MLS TRANSACTIONS] It's been said before. Toronto FC has turned the page. It parted ways with its 2013 leading scorer, Robert Earnshaw, former U.S. international Bobby Convey and five other players in the latest makeover by the club that has yet to yield a playoff berth in seven MLS seasons. The moves leave TFC with 21 players under contract and what its new general manager, Tim Bezbatchenko, said was the best core of players in a long time.
“We are writing a new story for TFC, and it begins with our current players,” said Bezbatchenko, who arrived from the MLS office late in the regular season after the exit of Kevin Payne, in a club statement. "We have not had a solid core group like this in a long time, and this core is prepared and excited about taking this club to the next level. We will continue discussing the possibility of returning next season with those players whose options were declined.”
Besides Earnshaw and Convey, TFC also declined 2013 options on midfielders Darel Russell and Michael Thomas. Forwards Danny Koevermans andJustin Braun and goalkeeper Stefan Frei remain out of contract.
Despite Bezbatchenko's assessment, Toronto is very inexperienced. Only two of the 21 players currently under contract are older than 26 -- 33-year-old Scottish defender Steven Caldwelland 28-year-old keeper Chris Konopka with all of two MLS games under his belt -- and only one player has MLS playoff experience -- Jeremy Hall with two games for New York in 2010.
2014 Toronto FC Roster:
Goalkeepers (3):Joe Bendik, Chris Konopka, Quillan Roberts.
Defenders (8):Steven Caldwell, Richard Eckersley, Jonas Elmer, Doneil Henry, Ashtone Morgan, Gale Agbossoumonde, Mark Bloom, Ryan Richter.
Midfielders (7):Kyle Bekker, Matias Laba, Jonathan Osorio, Alvaro Rey, Jeremy Hall, Manny Aparicio, Reggie Lambe.
Forwards (3): Bright Dike, Emery Welshman, Andrew Wiedeman.