CHAMPIONSGATE, United States â€” Newly signed New York City FC designated player Maximiliano Moralez almost ended up wearing Toronto FC colours.
Toronto went hard after the Argentine attacking midfielder several years ago with then-manager Ryan Nelsen flying out to see Moralez.
The deal didn’t go through and Toronto, once GM Tim Bezbatchenko came on board, instead went after and landed Italian Sebastian Giovinco.
The two are men small in stature but hugely talented, deadly on set pieces and with a fine finishing touch. Giovinco is five foot four and 135 pounds while Moralez is 5-3 and 115 pounds.
Toronto FC defender Ashtone Morgan is back on crutches. And facing another six to eight weeks on the sidelines.
The 26-year-old fullback, wearing a walking boot on his right foot, watched his teammates train in the sun Friday as he began the journey back from a second surgery to repair a stress fracture in his foot.
Manager Greg Vanney said the bones did not fuse as planned after a pin was inserted in the first surgery last September. The second surgery involved a bone graft to help the healing.
Morgan felt ready when he came into pre-season but the foot irritated him as he kept going during the California portion of camp. X-rays showed that the fracture had not healed.
He was operated on Tuesday at Duke University Hospital in North Carolina.
Morgan, a backup to Justin Morrow at left back, last saw action as a substitute Aug. 24, 2016, against Orlando. He missed the remaining 10 games of the regular season and did not take part in any of the six post-season matches.
He appeared in just seven league games (117 minutes) last season.
Forward Tosaint Ricketts and midfielder Sergio Camargo spent most of Friday’s morning session running with a trainer.
Ricketts suffered a knock to the hamstring area at the end of the team’s camp in California. Initially the team thought it was a contusion but it turned out to be a strain.
“Hopefully in the next couple of days he’ll be out (training) with us,” said Vanney.
Camargo arrived in camp with a nagging hip injury.
“He didn’t say much because he didn’t think much of it,” said Vanney. “And it never got better, it just kept kind of lingering.”
A scan showed two small strains in the hip flexor. Vanney says Camargo should be back in a couple of days.
Toronto has brought goalkeeper Mark Pais in for a trial, upping the number of ‘keepers in camp in Florida to four.
With Clint Irwin and Alex Bono set for the first team, Toronto is looking at Pais, draft choice Robert Moewes and others already on the books to fill Toronto FC 2 vacancies with Quillan Roberts having moved on.
Pais was most recently with St. Louis FC of the USL. The 25-year-old played collegiate soccer at St. Louis University and the University of Tulsa.
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Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press