TORONTO — Andy Iro and Toronto FC are a perfect match.
TFC need an experienced center back, like Iro. The 26-year-old from Liverpool was in search of a team that needed him.
The two got together last Friday in TFC’s third trade in two days, with Iro and midfielder Leandre Griffit coming from the Columbus Crew for midfielder Tony Tchani.
Because of reduced playing time, Iro had requested a trade earlier from Columbus in the season but had been turned down. The problem, he said, was a personality clash with Crew coach Robert Warzycha. Now, he is expected to provide leadership on the back line of a team that has had a big overhaul.
“I think it’s definitely going to help the team kind of bringing in a whole group of new guys together,” Iro said at BMO Field on Monday. “We can each help each other out and learn from each other’s experiences. I’m excited and I think it’s exciting for the Toronto fans as well. Just a completely new kind of lineup, it’s almost like a second season.”
Iro and Griffit join forward Ryan Johnson (who came from San Jose) and midfielder Terry Dunfield (who was obtained from Vancouver) in the makeover.The trades followed the signings of designated players Danny Koevermans and midfielder Torsten Frings.
Iro likes his new situation.
“It’s a big club, the support has always been great up here,” he said. “Going from the market in Columbus to this one is going to be a different kind of transition, but I think I can step into it pretty well and I’m looking forward to it. Already I can see it’s slightly different from your traditional Ohio town.”
Iro also discovered that Toronto has beaches.
“So I’m a little excited about that,” he said. “I’m ready to be back in a big city — kind of reminds me a little of London when I was back there.”
Last season, Iro played in 25 MLS games for Columbus and scored three goals. This season, he has played in four MLS games.
“Coming into this season, there was a little bit of tension between me and the coach and then it just grew," he said. "Honestly, it was one of the better learning experiences that I’ve had, just seeing how to be a professional even when the situation isn’t how you like it.
“I finally found a team where I think I can really fit in," Iro added, "a city I will really like, guys that I kind of already know from playing with them or against them.”