Earnshaw leaves TFC; Reds get Orr on loan

Toronto FC's Robert Earnshaw. (CP)
January 24, 2014, 10:20 AM

Robert Earnshaw’s days with Toronto FC are over, as the Welsh forward announced via Twitter on Friday that he is leaving the Major League Soccer club.

“We thank Robert for his contributions to Toronto FC during the 2013 season and wish him well in his future endeavours,” TFC told Sportsnet via text, confirming that they have, in fact, parted ways with Earnshaw.

Earnshaw, 32, was TFC’s top scorer in 2013 with eight goals in 23 games. The option on his contract was declined by the club at the end of year, but TFC had been negotiating with the Welshman over a new deal.

Earnshaw became somewhat expendable when the Reds signed a pair of high-profile forwards in Englishman Jermain Defoe and Brazilian Gilberto to designated player contracts this off-season.

His departure leaves TFC bereft of quality options coming off the bench at the forward position.

The other forwards currently on the roster include Emery Welshman (who only played five minutes in his rookie season last year), prospect Jordan Hamilton (who has yet to make his MLS debut), recent draft pick Kene Eze (who the club likely won’t sign) and Andrew Weideman (who has four goals in two seasons in Toronto).

Nigerian international Bright Dike has potential, but the club has recently been fielding trade offers, which brings into question his future in Toronto.

What’s Earnshaw’s next move? He appears to be exploring his options:

One option could be the Vancouver Whitecaps, who are coached by countryman and former Wales national team teammate Carl Robinson. The Whitecaps are also looking for a forward after selling top scorer Camilo to Mexican club Querétaro last week.

TFC gets Orr on loan

Also on Friday, Toronto FC announced it has acquired defender Bradley Orr on loan from Blackburn of the English Championship. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Orr, 31, has also enjoyed stints during his career at Newcastle United, Burnley, Bristol City, Queens Park Rangers, Ipswich Town and Blackpool.

With Richard Eckersley not returning this season for Toronto, Orr is expected to challenge American Mark Bloom for the starting right fullback position.

“Bradley Orr represents the addition of a versatile defender with valuable experience, and gives greater depth to our backline,” Toronto GM Tim Bezbatchenko said in a news release.

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