Sat, Dec

Greg Ranjitsingh - The Canadian Press

With starter Sean Johnson and backup Tomas Romero away on international duty, Greg Ranjitsingh will make his first start in goal for Toronto FC on Wednesday at FC Cincinnati.

The 29-year-old Ranjitsingh will be backed up by Luka Gavran, Toronto's second-round pick (31st overall) in the 2022 MLS SuperDraft. Coach Bob Bradley said the team was working on a short-term loan agreement to get Gavran from TFC II.

Bradley said Toronto will get fullback Richie Laryea and midfielder Jonathan Osorio back for Wednesday's game. They will then leave to rejoin Canada at the Gold Cup ahead of TC's weekend game at New England.

Johnson is with the United States while Romero is in camp with El Salvador.

The 47th-ranked Canadians lost 2-0 to the 13th-ranked U.S. in Sunday's CONCACAF Nations League final in Las Vegas. Canada opens Gold Cup play June 27 against either No. 170 Guyana or unranked Guadeloupe at Toronto's BMO Field before heading to Houston to finish Group D play against No. 116 Guatemala and No. 165 Cuba.

Toronto (3-5-10) last played June 10 when it drew 1-1 with visiting Nashville SC.

Ranjitsingh joined Toronto in January 2022. The Toronto native had stints with the Philadelphia Union (2021), Minnesota United (2020) and Orlando City (2019), making a combined five appearances, before signing as the league’s emergency goalkeeper in July 2021.

As a pool ‘keeper, Ranjitsingh was on call, sometimes flying across the country to spend a week with a team battling injuries or COVID. That included time with Los Angeles FC where he was noticed by then-manager Bradley.

Before that, Ranjitsingh made 90 appearances for Louisville City FC of the USL Championship from 2015 to 2018.

Ranjitsingh trains regularly with Johnson and Romero.

"I think Greg earns confidence with what he does in training … He makes some good saves," said Bradley. "People see that. They always feel like they've got someone behind them who's going to be there and be ready."

Added midfielder Brandon Servania: "He's ready to just step into that role and do what he has to do."

Ranjitsingh, whose last MLS start was in September 2020 for Minnesota against Houston, has played two games recently for TFC II.

Ranjitsingh played collegiate soccer at Mercer University in Georgia from 2011 to 2014, earning Southern Conference’s Goalkeeper of the Year and All-Conference team honours as a senior.

Growing up in Toronto, he played for Sigma FC, with Laryea a teammate there.

Internationally, Ranjitsingh has represented Trinidad and Tobago, where his father was born and raised, at the youth level and was on its 2019 Gold Cup team. He played against Canada in a closed-door friendly in June 2019 but has yet to win an official senior cap.

Bradley said Shane O'Neill is back from injury while fellow centre back Matt Hedges remains a question-mark. Midfielders Michael Bradley, Alonso Coello and Victor Vazquez continue their injury rehab.

SOURCE: The Canadian Press