TORONTO – Toronto FC may be getting ready to get back into the swing of MLS play once again, but the presence of two players not on the roster grabbed much of the attention on Wednesday.
The Reds return to league action on Friday against the New York Red Bulls (8 pm ET, MLS Live in US, Sportsnet in Canada), after a two-week World Cup break gave TFC head coach Ryan Nelsen’s side a much-needed chance to rest and recuperate.
Ahead of the match against New York, Nelsen has a relatively full roster of players to choose from. The only injury concerns are with Dan Lovitz and Gilberto, the former having picked up a concussion against San Jose on June 7 and the latter dealing with a hip flexor issue.
“Well, yeah, it was good, we got a bit of time off for the guys so they can kind of recharge the batteries physically and mentally,” Nelsen said. “We’ve had a good 10 days of hard work. We’re in a nice shape, the new guys have come in and have done really well, so it’s good.”
However, they might not be the only new faces signed to the team, as a pair of familiar players were spotted in training on Wednesday.
Canadian-born brothers Junior Hoilett (pictured) and Jaineil Hoilett were both at TFC camp practicing alongside the rest of the roster. It’s not the first time the duo has joined Toronto FC, either, as both players spent a few weeks training with Toronto FC this time last season as well. However, there’s one key difference this time around for one of the brothers.
“[Jaineil’s] contract expired in Germany and he’s here with Junior and he’s training,” Nelsen said. “It’s good to have those kind of quality players amongst training, it just lifts it for everybody.”
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Jaineil Hoilett, last with FSV Frankfurt on loan from FSV Mainz, featured in Toronto FC’s 2-1 friendly win over the Wilmington Hammerheads last week, starting in central midfield alongside Jonathan Osorio. Hoilett was instrumental in that match, too, scoring the game-winning goal on the 25-minute mark.
So, could this out-of-contract, former Canadian U-20 international suit up permanently for Toronto FC? On this matter, Nelsen didn’t reveal too much, but said, “Jaineil has been brilliant, his attitude is really good, so … you never know, you never know.”
As for his brother, Queens Park Rangers winger Junior Hoilett, a move seems unlikely, but Nelsen said they were “always in contact with QPR” regarding on-loan goalkeeper Julio Cesar.