The Vancouver Whitecaps announced this afternoon that they have mutually parted ways with 29-year-old backup goalkeeper Paolo Tornaghi. Tornaghi joined the Whitecaps in February 2014 and has made 13 starts for the first team, across all competitions. The key part of that statement is across competitions. Except for one start last season, and replacing David Ousted in San Jose earlier this season, due to a red card, Tornaghi has not seen any other MLS action. His starts have come in the first round of the Canadian Championship and in the CONCACAF Champions League.
The move comes as a bit of a surprise and not at the same time. Tornaghi’s contract was not renewed last offseason, but was picked up shortly before the beginning of this season, to serve as Ousted’s backup. It was clear that Tornaghi could not find other employment and the Caps were helping him out, while obtaining a suitable backup that was familiar with the club and Ousted. Now it appears that Tornaghi will be heading back to his native Italy to continue his career. With European leagues starting in late August, early September, this seems like the right time for that move. However, having Tornaghi on the senior roster meant that the Caps could continue to develop Spencer Richey by giving him game time with Whitecaps FC 2 rather than riding the bench with the senior squad.
Speaking of Spencer, with Tornaghi’s release, he was recalled from WFC 2. It is unclear whether this is a permanent move or a temporary one, until another backup is found. It seems that having Richey sitting on the bench all season, behind Ousted is not the best for his growth.
Until Spencer is returned to WFC 2, Tornaghi’s release does not open up a roster spot, as Richey will occupy that spot. Combined with Tornaghi being on $80,000, I wouldn’t read into this as a sign of anything major coming for the Caps.
Paolo was a great member of the Vancouver Whitecaps who understood his role on the squad and was a consummate professional. While his impact on the field was minimal, he played an important role in the community. In 2015, he was honoured as the WFC Humanitarian of the Year. We wish Paolo the best back in Italy.