Toronto FC announces the signing of five players, including Earnshaw

TFC added Welsh international forward Robert Earnshaw, English league veteran Darel Russell, draft picks Taylor Morgan and Ashton Bennett and homegrown player Jonathan Osorio.
With just a day to go before Toronto FC kicks off its 2013 Major League Soccer campaign, the club announced the signing of five players who have taken part in training camp.

On Friday, TFC unveiled Robert Earnshaw, Darel Russell, Taylor Morgan, Ashton Bennett and Jonathan Osorio as its latest additions. All except for Russell are attack-minded, which the team hopes will help address an anemic offense that struggled to score against MLS competition in the preseason.

Earnshaw, 31, is the highest-profile of the five signings. A Welsh international, the striker has enjoyed a lengthy career in England, including two stints at Cardiff City where he scored more than 100 goals in all competitions. He'll be looked upon to provide an immediate veteran presence up front.

“Robbie is an experienced player who has been a consistent goal scorer for club and country,” TFC president and general manager Kevin Payne said on the club's website. “With his pace and craftiness we expect him to create challenges for opposing defenses. We're thrilled to have him join our team.”

Also joining the Reds after a lengthy career in England is 32-year-old midfielder/defender Russell. Having most recently featured for Portsmouth, Russell brings the ability to play multiple positions to a TFC team eager to add depth all over the field.

“We're fortunate to add a player of Darel's experience and versatility to our team.” Payne said. “We expect him to help at several positions for us this year.”

The other three players added by the Toronto on Friday are decidedly younger than Earnshaw and Russell. Supplemental draft picks Bennett and Morgan impressed Payne and head coach Ryan Nelsen enough in training to earn themselves deals, as did 20-year-old Canadian midfielder Osorio.

“We're excited to add this young talent to our group at Toronto FC,” Payne said. “Each of these players earned their spot in preseason and we look forward to each contributing to a successful season.”

Bennett, 24, starred at Coastal Carolina University before having a good enough Combine to convince TFC to take a chance on him. A Jamaica native, the young striker also holds Canadian residency status and thus will count as a domestic player.

At 6-foot-5, English-born Morgan will add a towering presence up front for the Reds. The 22-year-old joins TFC from George Mason University, where he scored 23 goals and added seven assists in 50 games.

Osorio, 20, is the youngest of the four signings, and is also the only local product. Born in Toronto, the midfielder has spent time with Club Nacional in Uruguay, as well as SC Toronto in the Canadian Soccer League. He joined Toronto's academy last year and was invited to train with the first team for preseason, where he impressed with his creativity and nose for goal.