Toronto duo out of contract following 2022, two others have club options
Toronto will have some major decisions to make this offseason. The MLS Players Association released the list of players who will be out of contract following this season, along with players who have club options in their contracts and are eligible for free agency. Among those players who are out of contract are Jonathan Osorio and Alex Bono for Toronto.
To be eligible for MLS free agency, a player must be at least 24 years old and have five or more years of experience in the league.
Osorio, a 30-year-old midfielder, will be one of the top players on the free agent market this offseason. Even while missing a few matches with injury this season, Osorio has still racked up five goals and six assists through 16 matches. He's started 14 of those matches and has played 1,133 minutes on the year. He is also completing a superb 90.2% of his passes and has played 19 accurate long balls.
The Toronto native has been with the club his entire professional career where he has amassed 38 goals and 43 assists across 252 career matches dating back to 2013. Osorio is a club legend, he has appeared in more matches than any player in Toronto FC history and is third in club history in goals. Osorio's free agency will be an interesting one based on whether or not his age matches Toronto's current timeline, plus whether Toronto can afford to bring back in terms of salary.
Osorio has a $1m cap-hit this season (according to MLSPA's salary guide), which makes him a "TAM player" (meaning that Toronto uses Targeted Allocation Money to buy down his salary to the maximum roster number). There's been rumors about Osorio potentially leaving, but I would guess though that both sides do want him back in Toronto. However, we'll have to wait and see how it all eventually plays out.
Bono, a 28-year-old goalkeeper, is in a very interesting position. Bono was Toronto's starting goalkeeper to start the season, but lost his starting job in late May and has only started two matches since. All in all, he has started 15 matches in goal on the year. He has allowed 28 goals in that span, while making 68.9% of his saves. He has also completed 57% of his passes out of the back.
Bono has played in Toronto since 2015 after he was selected in the first round of the MLS Superdraft of that year. Bono has played 121 matches for Toronto in his career, where he's allowed 176 goals and has kept 23 clean sheets.
Bono has a $525,000 cap hit this season. I believe that whether Bono can lock back down the starting goalkeeper spot will likely determine whether or not Toronto tries to bring him back in free agency.
Toronto will also have decisions to make on whether or not they will pick up or decline the contract options on Chris Mavinga and Auro Jr. Toronto could pick up the options and bring those players back, or decline the options and they would then enter free agency.
Mavinga, a 31-year old center back, has battled injuries big time the last two seasons. He has been limited to just nine starts and 646 minutes this season due to injury. He also missed double-digit matches last season. This season, he is completing 87.5% of his passes and has made 10 interceptions.
Mavinga is a quality defender, but the injury concerns are a major issues. As is his cap hit, which is $1m this year (which also makes him a TAM-bought down player). Mavinga has spent his full MLS career in Toronto when he joined the club in 2017 after playing for Rubin Kazan in Russia. That cap hit will factor into whether he is brought back, as will the injuries. However, with as good as he is, it would be difficult for Toronto to let him potentially leave in free agency.
Auro Jr., a 26-year old defender, definitely has his future with Toronto in question. Auro is currently on loan with Santos in his home country of Brazil where he has played this entire season. Toronto has a club option for him, but his future in Toronto is definitely in doubt. Overall, he has played in 84 matches with Toronto from 2018-2021 after playing in Brazil before that. Auro is definitely talented, but I'm not sure he remains with Toronto.
It's possible that Toronto picks up his option, and then tries to trade him to another club within MLS or attempts to sell him to a club outside the league (potentially to another club back in Brazil). It's also possible that the club declines his option and lets him explore his options. However, I believe it would be wisest for Toronto to pick up his option and then attempt to move him if he isn't in the club's plans. That way they can at least reap some assets if they do in fact want to move him (which isn't 100%, it's possible that the two parties decide for him to return to Toronto). He has a $400,000 cap hit this past season which will likely be around what he would make next season, if the club decides to bring him back.
Toronto will have some major decisions to make regarding these four players and their futures with the club. This season has already been one of major change for Toronto, and this offseason could provide even more.