Toronto FC acquire forward Eric Hassli from Vancouver

Toronto FC have acquired French forward Eric Hassli from the Vancouver Whitecaps in exchange for a first-round pick in the 2014 MLS SuperDraft and an international roster slot, the clubs announced Friday.

“Adding a player of Eric’s ability gives an immediate improvement to our club,” said Toronto FC head coach and director of soccer operations Paul Mariner in conference call. “He has had a lot of success in this league and we are pleased to bring him to Toronto.”

Hassli will join Torsten Frings and Danny Koevermans as Designated Players on the Toronto roster.

The Frenchman, 31, joined the Whitecaps from Swiss outfit FC Zürich at the start of the 2011 season. He totaled 44 league appearances for expansion Vancouver, scoring 12 goals and adding five assists in league play, plus three goals from eight appearances in the Canadian Championship.

With the addition of Scottish DP forward Kenny Miller and the emergence of rookie Darren Mattocks, Hassli found himself increasingly relegated to the bench in Vancouver, though Whitecaps head coach Martin Rennie admitted the decision to trade the player was not an easy one.

“Trading Eric has been a difficult decision and we really appreciate all that he has done for the club," he said in a statement. "With the emergence of our young strikers and recent additions, we felt that this is the right time to make this move. We wish Eric the best of luck in Toronto.”

Hassli's first opportunity to feature for his new club won't come on Saturday, as he's not available when the Reds face Liverpool FC in the World Football Challenge (4 pm ET, Fox Soccer). They return to MLS action the following weekend, hosting the Houston Dynamo on July 28.