Toronto FC terminate Damien Perquis' contract
Defender was supposed to be part of Reds' defensive rebuild
Veteran defender Damien Perquis, whose playing time had dwindled in recent weeks, has left Toronto FC.
In a three-paragraph statement Tuesday night, the MLS club said the two parties had "mutually agreed to terminate the defender's contract."
"After speaking with Damien, we have agreed to allow him to pursue other opportunities," Toronto general manager Tim Bezbatchenko said in the statement. "On behalf of Toronto FC we would like to thank Damien for his contributions to the club and wish him and his family all the best in the future."
Perquis, 32, signed with Toronto on Jan. 26, 2015, brought in to play with centre back Steven Caldwell. But the veteran Scot played just two games, forced to retire in mid-season due to injury. Perquis was partnered with a variety of centre backs in a dodgy TFC defence that gave up 58 goals, tied for worst in the league.
Perquis started nine of the first 10 matches this season, playing 806 minutes. He started just two of the next seven, playing 180 minutes.
He was listed as an unused substitute in four of those matches and was said to be injured for the other.
Asked about Perquis' absence in recent weeks, a team spokesman said the defender was nursing several injuries and was "battered."
Perquis trained Monday. After practice, coach Greg Vanney essentially said there was no need to make changes to a backline that was working well as is.
"Damien's healthy but the combination of Eriq and Drew with Ben (Cheyrou) in front of them I think it's five games and they have four shutouts ... I think you reward guys when they're playing well."
"It doesn't mean anything for Damien, it doesn't mean he's playing poorly," Vanney added. "It's just that that group of players has been doing a very good job and we'll ride them out. As long as they keep doing a great job, they're the guys in my opinion."
Perquis, who wears his heart on his sleeve, likely did not cross the Atlantic to sit on the bench.
He left Real Betis in Spain after seeing his playing time dwindle under a new coach. That produced another mutual parting of the ways and Perquis got a call from Jerome Meary, who helps recruit players for MLS.
Perquis was an emotional powder-keg at times — while he usually greeted reporters with a smile and a handshake, he once famously ranted in French at a local beat reporter in the dressing room for some sort of perceived slight — but at his best, he was solid at the back and was a fine passer.
Perquis, who confessed missing friends and family back home, made 38 appearances for Toronto in all competitions with two goals and two assists.