Emory proves a surprise at center back for Toronto

Logan Emory

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TORONTO – Logan Emory could have landed almost anywhere in 2012.

The 24-year-old center back was in camp with the San Jose Earthquakes at one point in the preseason, and then he headed East for a spell with USL Pro squad Orlando City.

He thought he was destined to toil on the fringes of MLS this season, and he had no security that he’d even land with the club in Orlando. But then he played in a fateful preseason game just a week before the Disney Pro Soccer Classic, and the brass from Toronto FC were watching.

“They thought I was signed with Orlando,” Emory said. “My agent called them just in case and it just turned out that they were interested and the next day kind of got the ball rolling.”

That it did, and the hunch made by TFC head coach and technical director Aron Winter, lead assistant coach Bob de Klerk and director of player development Paul Mariner was a good one.

TFC signed Emory on March 13, and suddenly the Reds have an unexpected option at center back. Emory started and logged all 90 minutes in the Reds’ season opener against the Seattle Sounders, and he’s in the mix again for the team’s home opener on Saturday against San Jose (1 pm ET; TSN, MLS Live in US).

Emory played at the University of Portland from 2006 to 2009, and then played in 2010 and 2011 with the Puerto Rico Islanders.

“It happened kind of fast so I didn’t have much time to really think about it,” he said. “Everything just kind of happened. I never had a second to kind of sit down and doubt myself. The first few minutes were shaky and I remember trying to talk to myself to calm down. I was trying not to recognize the magnitude of the situation.”

Although he started for the Reds in the center of defense last time out, Emory said he’s willing to play where needed after getting the opportunity of a lifetime.

“Center back is a more natural position for me,” he said. “But I like playing out wide. I like to get as much time out there as possible and try to get a little more comfortable.”