Toronto FC have decided to lock down Alex Bono to what could be a long-term extension, but what does it mean for the goalkeeper?
Last month, a report suggested teams overseas were looking to grab Alex Bono from Toronto FC. Well, the team has extinguished the fire to those rumours, after agreeing to a contract extension with their starting goalkeeper.
The deal comes, in part, due to the reported interest from an array of clubs interested in signing Bono this summer. TFC wanted to secure their number one choice in net and bring him off the market.
It’s been made clear since the MLS Cup run last season that Bono would be the starter in goal for years to come, especially considering his age.
Even after a rough start to this campaign, Bono has been able to rebound with 3.7 saves per match; 2.6 of which come within the penalty area and 1.1 being outside the box. That’s good for a save percentage of 67.3 through 10 games, which is right on track with his efficiency from last year (69.2 percent).
In addition, the 24-year-old turned heads in the Champions League run with the Reds. He started in eight contests and posted a 4-2-2 record, while only allowing nine goals.
What Bono Brings to the Table
He is the future in net for Toronto. Bono has worked through the ranks of TFC to surpass Clint Irwin, in order to finally secure a starting position in net.
Bono is a young winner in MLS. This means rather obvious statements; the first being that the Syracuse native brings experience to the forefront, which not many other young keepers can offer. Confidence and trust can be given by Reds’ supporters, simply because he’s done it before.
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This trust could potentially land results in the future. There’s seemingly no worry in net, which is a blessing to have for Toronto.
Experience domestically could also produce results in other competitions, such as the Canadian Championship and the Champions League. He’s played in both, and he could play in many more.
Bono’s stats are right where they need to be for Toronto FC to have a chance to win fixtures. On the same note, the keeper seems to get along with his teammates very well. Bono handles the media by displaying complete professionalism and showing focus to the fixture at hand. This has resulted in some occasions where Bono has been given the captain’s armband from Greg Vanney.
Last but not least, Bono could be an international star with the United States one day. A clean sheet against Bolivia back in May has surely put Bono on the radar of future USMNT starters in goal. That will hopefully bring more attention to Bono’s talents, and to the club he plays for as well.
How About the Money?
At the moment, no year term has been released from the Reds. That plays a huge part in trying to determine just how much Bono could be making per season.
Yet, it can be said with confidence that Bono will now be the highest-paid keeper on the squad; a position held by Irwin for quite some time. This means that a salary of $82,000 for this season will at least double, since Irwin has been collecting over $200,000.
Comments from the Reds
General manager Tim Bezbatchenko was quick to note Bono’s history with the club, but he didn’t provide details on what the future could hold for the player. This is what the senior VP had to say, according to the MLS website:
"“Alex was a big part of our success last season. He set club records for wins and clean sheets and was a critical piece of our championship team.“Since joining the club as a first round pick in 2015, Alex’s ability to make key saves in big moments has been critical to our success.”"
Bono’s agent, Costa Smyrniotis, is very confident the contract could only mean positive things for him. Smyrniotis notes that his client loves virtually everything related to Toronto, but he could have gone elsewhere.
Maybe some leverage was used in negotiations to determine Bono’s upcoming playing status. As per Sportsnet, Smyrniotis said:
"“There was interest and it was serious. Ultimately both sides were keen on getting things done. It was very professional.“He loves this city and the club. He wanted to be here and Toronto FC made it clear with their actions they wanted him as their No. 1 for years to come.”"
And finally, here are some reactions to TFC’s Twitter announcement on Wednesday:
Was the Contract Worth it?
Overall, the new contract for Bono was a complete win for both the player and the club.
The common denominator is that the Reds are locking down a ton of potential with Bono that could land exposure and silverware very soon. He’s collecting more and more experience by the minute, which will go a long way into his future.
The starting goalkeeper is now a position that Toronto has locked down, for what could be a long time at a good price. It’s a win-win scenario that now enables TFC to focus on other areas of the pitch.
At the moment, Sebastian Giovinco is eyeing a new contract from the Reds, while Jonathan Osorio is rumored to be attracting interest from clubs in Mexico and Germany.
Not to mention that Toronto FC could also start to find a back-up for Bono to completely secure the position, as Irwin is getting up there in age. Borja Angoitia provides a prime option with Gianluca Catalano as a long-term prospect; both of whom come from TFC II.
TFC head to Yankee Stadium at the weekend, to take on NYCFC in a tough fixture against a squad aiming for the top of the MLS table. It will also represent the start of a new chapter for Bono under his new contract – stay tuned.
What is your take on Bono’s new contract with Toronto FC? What does this now mean for Irwin’s future in Southern Ontario? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.