|Tony Tchani of Toronto FC gets by Gershon Koffie of Vancouver Whitecaps during the first half of action of the Canadian soccer championship at BMO Field in Toronto May 25th, 2011. (DAVE ABEL/QMI Agency)
The revamping of Toronto FC continued on Friday.
The team pulled off a rare trade with one aof its biggest rivals, the Columbus Crew, adding solid defender Andy Iro and midfielder Leandre Griffit.
Iro broke the trade via Twitter, thanking Crew fans and saying he was heading to Toronto.
The pair arrived in exchange for midfielder Tony Tchani.
Tchani was a key return from Toronto's trade of former captain Dwayne De Rosario earlier this season, but did not make a huge impression and drew some grumbles for the time it took him to recover from various knocks.
With Adrian Cann done for the season and Dicoy Williams possibly finished as well, TFC desperately needed a solid central defender to shore up its sagging defence.
"We needed help on defence and Andy is a defender that we have wanted to bring in for some time," Toronto FC head coach and technical director Aron Winter said in a release.
"After our deals yesterday we felt we could move a central midfielder of value to acquire an important piece. Leandre also provides us depth in the midfield.”
The 6-foot-5 Iro certainly fits the bill. The 26-year-old native of Liverpool left England, where he was a towering forward, for America and the University of California Santa Barbara.
A proven winner, Iro helped lead UCSB to an NCAA division I championship and was a member of Columbus' 2008 MLS Cup and Supporter's Shield champion squad. Columbus won the Supporter's Shield again in 2009.
However, Iro had fallen out of favour with the Crew, playing in only four contests with two starts, after starting 24 of 25 appearances last season. He last played on July 2nd.
Griffit, 27, is in his second MLS season after playing in the past in his native France, England and Sweden.
On Thursday, TFC traded away Nana Attakora, Alan Gordon and Jacob Peterson and brought in midfielder Terry Dunfield from Vancouver and speedy forward Ryan Johnson from San Jose.
The newcomers should all be available for Wednesday's home meeting with FC Dallas.