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Winter gets his men in trades, says players fit his system

Aron Winter

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TORONTO — Danny Koevermans has yet to play a game for Toronto FC, but already, the newly signed Designated Player has seen a lot of change in his new club.

“This morning I came in the room and I saw someone not there anymore,” the former Dutch international said on Friday after training at BMO Field. “It’s a little bit strange, but that’s the way things go over here.”

After making two trades on Thursday, Toronto FC were at it again on Friday. This time they acquired defender Andy Iro and midfielder Leandre Griffit from the Columbus Crew for midfielder Tony Tchani. And it's a safe bet they're not done.

“Not yet,” said head coach and technical director Aron Winter on at training Friday. “But at this moment, [with] the players that I have now and are coming, I’m satisfied. This is also part of the rebuilding process.”

Iro was the key to the trade with Columbus, said Winter.

“Everybody knows with all the injuries we had in the back ... we had a need to get defenders,” he said. “Tony was doing well. It’s a pity that he’s away, but sometimes you have to do some trades and get other players back to get all the pieces in the right place.”

Acquiring Iro and Griffit follows Thursday’s deal that brought forward Ryan Johnson, allocation money and an international roster spot from the San Jose Earthquakes and midfielder Terry Dunfield from the Vancouver Whitecaps.

VOTE: Which new player will have the biggest impact for Toronto?

Toronto sent forward Alan Gordon, midfielder Jacob Peterson and defender Nana Attakora to San Jose, and allocation money and future considerations to Vancouver.

“I’ve had some time to watch certain players in the league,” said Winter, who is in his first season in Major League Soccer. “Dunfield and Johnson were two of them that I liked and I thought would fit into our system and the way we want to play.”

Director of player development Paul Mariner was instrumental in targeting Johnson, a Jamaican international he has admired for years.

“I’ve known him as a kid when he was at [Oregon State] University,” Mariner said. “I tracked him for a long time. He’s had a terrific career at San Jose, scoring goals and assisting on goals and creating mayhem on defenses with his pace. He’s 6-1, he’s got tremendous height, he gets up, he’s a constant threat. He’s a great guy, which is very important. His character is fantastic. So we’re absolutely delighted to get him.”

Dunfield, a Canadian international, made an impression on Toronto FC when he scored a goal against them in the Whitecaps’ 4-2 win in the first game of the season.

“I thought he was very impressive,” Mariner said. “Since then, we’ve been tracking Terry and we’ve seen him in the Nutrilite [Canadian Championship], the Gold Cup and saw him play for Canada against Ecuador [at BMO Field last month, when he scored a goal]. We saw enough of him to see he was the type person we wanted to bring in. He just ticked all the boxes for us.”

But despite all the new faces, Mariner confirmed there's more change in the works.

“We’re not finished yet,” he added. “We know we’ve got to do a little bit more, so we’re working hard to do that.”