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Toronto FC signs backup goalkeeper Quentin Westberg from France's AJ Auxerre

Toronto FC filled a need Monday by signing veteran goalkeeper Quentin Westberg.

The 32-year-old 'keeper joins 24-year-old starter Alex Bono and 31-year-old Caleb Patterson-Sewell, who served as the club's No. 3 last season.

The MLS club has been looking for depth in the position since deciding not to pick up the option on Clint Irwin after last season. Toronto eventually traded Irwin in December to Colorado for a second-round pick in the 2019 MLS SuperDraft. TFC used that pick (39th overall) on University of Louisville midfielder Adam Wilson, who is no longer with the team.

Toronto, meanwhile, continues its pursuit of Spanish attacking midfielder Alejandro Pozuelo of Belgian league-leader KRC Genk.

The player apparently wants the move. But the stumbling block appears to be the release clause in his contract and when, if triggered, it kicks in. Genk does not want to give him up immediately.

Toronto, which wants to make the Spaniard a designated player, is waiting to resolve the Pozuelo hunt before finalizing one or two other moves using targeted allocation money.

The club has holes on offence with Sebastian Giovinco and Victor Vazquez departing for greener pastures in Saudi Arabia and Qatar, respectively. TFC is also trying to move Dutch defender Gregory van der Wiel after a training camp bust-up with Vanney.

Westberg, born in France to an American father and French mother, has played for the U.S. at the U-17, U-20 and U-23 levels. Most recently, he was with AJ Auxerre in the French second tier.

Toronto coach Greg Vanney, who played in France with Bastia from 2002 to '05, said he has kept tabs on Westberg since his time in France. Westberg was a young 'keeper at the time, like Vanney one of the few Americans playing in France.

The team moved on Westberg after Vanney heard he might be interested in coming to MLS.

"He's a different type of goalkeeper than our group ... Not quite as big (as Bono) but he's very good in distribution. His feet are very clean," said Vanney. "He's a very experienced goalkeeper as well.

"So for me it's an interesting addition because he has some of the thins that we would like Alex to continue to develop and vice versa which gives some variation to our group. It's not always the same.

"And so they can help push each other in different ways and I think his experience will help Alex as well. But I also think he is a viable candidate to push Alex for that first position."

The six-foot-one 174-pound Westberg has also played for Troyes AC, Evian Thonon Gaillard Football Club (now known as Thonon Evian Football Club), Luzenac AP and Tours in France and Sarpsborg 08 FF in Norway.

TFC also announced a partnership with Ottawa-Cumberland Soccer, providing professional technical, player and coaching development at the youth level. Ottawa TFC will join Windsor TFC and London TFC as exclusive youth affiliate clubs of Toronto FC.


Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press