TORONTO -- Toronto FC added some hometown flair in Dwayne De Rosario yesterday, acquiring the all-star attacking midfielder from the Houston Dynamo in exchange for defender Julius James and allocation money.
De Rosario is a three-time all-star and four-time MLS Cup winner with Houston and the San Jose Earthquakes. The 30-year-old Canadian international has 51 goals and 42 assists in his eight MLS seasons.
"Dwayne is a player we've admired for quite some time. When the chance came to work with Houston to get this deal, we were obviously very happy," Toronto director of soccer Mo Johnston said in a statement.
At the other end, the deal gives the Dynamo some needed salary cap room and a young defender.
"Over the last few days, it became apparent that this move was necessary," Dynamo CEO Chris Canetti said in a statement. "Before the trade, our salary cap limitations precluded us from making any significant moves. We now have plenty of flexibility on how we want to build our roster and field another very competitive squad, both domestically and internationally."
De Rosario was Houston's highest-paid player last season at US$325,000. He will add playmaking skills to a Toronto offence that managed just 34 goals in 30 games last season to rank 13th out of 14 teams.
De Rosario, a Toronto native, has won the MLS Goal of the Year award twice, in 2004 and 2005, and was a finalist in 2006. He turned pro at age 18 in 1997, signing with the Toronto Lynx of the A-League.
Houston head coach Dominic Kinnear said the move "is in the best interest of everybody."
James played 13 games during his rookie season in Toronto, earning US$44,750. The 24-year-old won his first cap for Trinidad and Tobago in September.
He was the ninth overall selection in the 2008 SuperDraft out of the University of Connecticut.
A Toronto official said De Rosario was not immediately available yesterday.
EPL THINKING ASIA
TOKYO (AP) -- The English Premier League's proposal to play a round of league matches in Asia has been revived after the league struck a co-operation agreement with the Asian Football Confederation.
Premier League chief executive Peter Scudamore and AFC president Mohammed bin Hammam met yesterday on the sidelines of the Club World Cup and announced the organizations would work at an administrative and club-to-club level to close the gap between Asian and European football. The closer relationship could clear the way for the Premier League to stage a "39th round" in Asia.
COBHAM, England (AP) -- Chelsea will be looking to improve its home form when its former player Gianfranco Zola leads his West Ham team to Stamford Bridge tomorrow (The Score, 9 a.m.).
The Blues, who dropped to second in the Premier League and in their Champions League group, have had trouble breaking down defences at Stamford Bridge, winning only three league games and losing a 4 1/2-year unbeaten run there.
"We are looking forward to kick-starting our home form a touch," Chelsea assistant coach Ray Wilkins said.
"The players realize that teams are coming and making it slightly more difficult for us, but that's up to us to try and conquer it."