TORONTO — Terry Dunfield became Toronto FC’s latest casualty Thursday morning after the Reds announced they’ve parted ways with the former Canadian international.
A starter through the first month of the season, Dunfield, 31, only recently returned from an injured PCL that saw him miss close to two months.
Upon his return, however, the writing was on the wall.
“We just had better options that progressed further on,” TFC head coach Ryan Nelsen said following Thursday’s training.
He mentioned Matias Laba, Jonathan Osorio and Jeremy Hall as currently being better options in what’s quickly becoming a crowded central midfield at BMO Field.
“We really like Terry, a guy who gives everything,” Nelsen said. “But with the emergence of so many young players progressing so well … we had to make a really tough decision.”
In the end, though, the decision couldn’t have been clearer.
Dunfield was never going to play over Jeremy Hall, who Nelsen’s praised endlessly throughout the early portion of the season.
Further, the addition of Matias Laba undoubtedly sealed Dunfield’s fate.
“The last couple of games we’ve bossed at central midfield with who we’ve got,” Nelsen explained.
When it came to mentioning who the Reds might bring in to fill Dunfield’s vacated space, the New Zealander became a bit more guarded.
After the Toronto Sun asked Nelsen where the Reds might look for players, he was fairly broad in his description.
“The world,” Nelsen quipped. “This world.”
As the laughter died down, he offered a bit more insight into TFC’s player search, mentioning his recent trip to Europe and head scout Pat Onstad’s recent voyage back to Argentina and Uruguay as potentially bearing fruit.
“We’ve lined up the guys we want. If we can get 3-4 players we’re trying to get we’ll be very close,” Nelsen said, reiterating that he thinks his roster is closer to finding success than some might think.
“When we do pick a player, we want to get it right. The history (at TFC) hasn’t been that great.”
Most importantly, Nelsen said, TFC’s new front office is completing its due diligence to be sure they don’t handcuff themselves with bad signings moving forward.
“We don’t want to hamstring the team with a bad signing,” Nelsen said. “He has to have good character, everything needs to be considered. Character, mentality and he has to want to win league titles here. It’s not just about getting the best player on a CV.”
Nelsen confirmed to the Sun that Robert Earnshaw’s deal at TFC has been extended to the end of this season. Earnshaw’s loan from Cardiff City was due to expire on July 1 … Darren O’Dea is questionable for Saturday’s game at D.C. United due to illness. Nelsen said the Irish international felt ill following Tuesday night’s friendly against Spain in New York … Danny Califf’s mysterious absence from training continues. Two weeks ago it was illness. Now, a back issue. All this amid numerous trade rumors involving the embattled centre back … Danny Koevermans seems to have recovered in time for the weekend. After a minor back injury kept him out of full training earlier this week, the Dutchman could see time in D.C., but likely only in a substitute’s role … Richard Eckersley is expected to remain sidelined for at least another two weeks due to the hamstring injury he suffered in early April.