With Auro Jr.’s loan to Santos FC now official, what is Toronto FC planning to do in respect of their fullback depth and formation for the coming season?
After weeks of speculation, Auro Jr.’s departure from Toronto FC became official on Monday. As per the communications department, the Brazilian has been loaned to Santos FC.
The loan move to Santos FC is for the remainder of 2022. However, the Brazilian Serie A club also has an option to make the move permanent.
Auro Jr. leaves Southern Ontario after four successful seasons in MLS. He had 109 appearances and 13 assists in all competitions, including 84 games and 10 assists in the regular season.
The decision to allow the 26-year-old to leave is an interesting one. For a start, the Reds had exercised their contract option on him following the conclusion of the 2021 campaign.
You also have to wonder about the timing of the move by TFC, as the loss of Auro Jr. now further depletes their fullback strength and depth. Justin Morrow retired after last season, while Richie Laryea was recently sold to Nottingham Forest.
There have been ongoing rumours that Toronto is in talks with Genoa’s Domenico Criscito. However, even if they are successful in signing the Italian fullback, he likely won’t be joining them until the conclusion of the current Serie A season.
Regardless, the departure of Auro Jr. leads to questions about what new head coach and sporting director Bob Bradley has planned for the season ahead. More specifically, what formation is he likely to implement?
Just be virtue of the dearth of fullbacks, this could allude to Bradley playing three at the back. It is conceivable that recent additions Shane O’Neill and Carlos Salcedo will line up regularly alongside stalwart Chris Mavinga in the centre-back positions.
Of course there is no way of knowing for sure at this stage, especially after such a significant overhaul following a disappointing 2021 campaign. Certainly though, all eyes will be on TFC during their remaining two preseason games, looking for an indication of what Bradley has planned.
Overall, there is a lot to like about what the Reds have done so far during the offseason. However, something does not quite sit right about allowing Auro Jr. to leave, albeit without knowing all of the relevant details.
What is your take on Auro Jr.’s time with Toronto FC and do you agree with the decision to move him? Further, what formation do you see the Reds using when the regular season begins? Let us know in the comments section below.