Toronto FC re-signs free agent Jason Hernandez ahead of Chivas test
Toronto FC has turned to a familiar face in its search for squad reinforcements, re-signing free-agent central defender Jason Hernandez ahead of a home-and-away tilt with Chivas Guadalajara in the CONCACAF Champions League final.
Hernandez was a member of the Reds' historic 2017 squad but was not brought back for the start of the 2018 season.
The 14-year MLS veteran now returns to his former team as a slew of injuries to key defenders Gregory van der Wiel, Chris Mavinga, and Nick Hagglund have reduced Greg Vanney's ranks considerably at this crucial juncture.
"Jason was an important member of our club last season both on and off the field. He is an experienced veteran that provides us with another strong defender to an already excellent group," general manager Tim Bezbatchenko said in a club statement. "We remained in contact with Jason throughout the offseason regarding his return and we are pleased to bring him back to TFC."
Toronto FC president Bill Manning indicated the team will not field a full-strength side against the Colorado Rapids on Saturday, nor for a bout with the Houston Dynamo between the first and the second leg against Chivas.
"We're going to play the game and we're going to manage our lineup," Manning explained, as quoted by MLSsoccer.com. "It'll be a very, very reserve-driven lineup."
Beyond his ability to provide cover across the backline, Vanney also praised Hernandez for his leadership, telling Kurt Larson of the Toronto Sun that the 34-year-old is a vocal figure in the team and might have a future at the club.
"Jason is a pro. He's a huge part of the fabric of our team," Vanney told the Sun. "Every day he trains hard. He demands the best out of everyone around him. He has a great demeanor and sense of humor, but also leadership.
"He's a warrior. It's nice to get another experienced guy not just for this year, but maybe he can stay around the club for a while."
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