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Toronto acquire Iro, Griffit, send Tchani to Columbus

columbus-tfc trade

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Toronto FC continued to make major changes to their roster on Friday, bringing in central defender Andy Iro and midfielder Leandre Griffit in a trade that sent midfielder Tony Tchani to the Columbus Crew.

Per club and league policy, no further terms of the deal were disclosed.

"We needed help on defense 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 statement. "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.”

On Thursday, TFC acquired midfielder Terry Dunfield and forward Ryan Johnson, while sending forward Alan Gordon, defender Nana Attakora and midfielder Jacob Peterson to the San Jose Earthquakes.

Iro, 26, is currently in his fourth season in the MLS, all with the Crew. The England native was drafted sixth overall by Columbus in the 2008 MLS SuperDraft. This season, Iro has played 178 minutes for the Crew. He has scored five career goals and was part of Columbus’ 2008 MLS Cup win and back-to-back Supporters' Shields in 2008 and '09. He played his college career at UC Santa Barbara and won the 2006 NCAA Men’s National Championship.

Griffit, 27, is in his second season in MLS, both with the Crew. His career began with Amiens SC of France before moving to Southampton in England. After two seasons at Southampton with two loan spells, Griffit moved to IF Elfsborg in Sweden. After three seasons in Sweden, he returned to England with Crystal Palace and left the club after a short stay. Griffit had a tryout with Houston Dynamo but went on to sign for Columbus in April 2010.

As a Generation Adidas player, Tchani will not count against the Crew’s salary cap this season.

A 22-year-old native of Douala, Cameroon, Tchani was drafted by the New York Red Bulls in the first round (No. 2 overall) of the 2010 MLS SuperDraft. In his first professional season, he appeared in 27 matches, starting 17, scoring a goal and adding three assists. Tchani made his MLS debut as a second half substitute in 1-0 win over Chicago on March 20, 2010 and his first MLS start in 4-0 loss to San Jose on May 8 of the same season. He recorded his first career MLS goal vs. the Crew on May 20 and his first career assist on a Rafa Márquez goal at Toronto on Aug. 21.

Tchani began the 2011 season in New York, appearing in two matches with one start, before being dealt to Toronto FC on April 1, as part of the trade that sent Dwayne De Rosario to New York. At Toronto, he started in 13 matches, logging 1,032 minutes and scoring one goal — again against the Crew, on April 23, in the 1-1 draw at BMO Field.

“Tony is a very good young player who we have followed for a long time, and we are thrilled to have him,” Crew head coach Robert Warzycha said in a statement. “He is a good passer, he’s calm on the ball and he can get forward. He is going to help our team.”

The 6-foot-4 midfielder is a product of the University of Virginia, where he spent two years before entering the MLS SuperDraft. During his tenure at UVA, he helped the Cavaliers win the 2009 NCAA Men’s College Cup, was a First Team All-America selection by the NSCAA, earned spots on the ACC and NCAA College Cup All-Tournament teams and earned 2008 ACC Freshman of the Year honors after recording nine goals and three assists.