Toronto FC signs South American winger as MLS transfer window re-opens

By The Canadian Press
July 9, 2019 - 8:15am

Toronto FC finally got its long-awaited winger Tuesday in the form of 22-year old Venezuelan Erickson Gallardo.

The announcement came on the first day of the secondary MLS transfer window.

Gallardo has one cap for Venezuela, making his national debut last month in a 1-1 friendly against Ecuador.

"Erickson is a talented attacking player that will improve our team," Toronto GM Ali Curtis said in a statement. "He has good character and is excited to earn the respect of his teammates, meet our great fans, and he and his wife are looking forward to settling into the City of Toronto. He has speed, can shift directions quickly and can open up the game for himself and others.

"Mid-season can sometimes be challenging to step into a new team, particularly for young, international players. With that said, we're excited to get him going because we believe he can make an impact now, and in the future."

The five-foot-eight 150-pounder comes to MLS from Venezuela's Zamora FC where he made 116 appearances in all competitions and won three league titles since making his debut in 2014. Gallardo had 10 goals and 19 assists in 91 appearances over the last three seasons.

Toronto coach Greg Vanney has been looking for a winger to add to his attack since the start of the season. TFC lost much of its attack in the pre-season when Sebastian Giovinco and Victor Vazquez opted to join Middle East clubs on lucrative deals.

U.S. international centre back Omar Gonzalez, whose signing was announced June 3, also trained with Toronto on Tuesday. His arrival was delayed until the transfer window re-opened — and his Gold Cup duties were done.

The 30-year-old Texan spent seven seasons with the Los Angeles Galaxy before playing in Mexico for Pachuca and Atlas.

The six-foot-five Gonzalez, who has won 52 caps for the U.S., has a distinguished MLS resume.

He was named Rookie of the Year award in 2009, before going on to claim two Supporters Shields (2010, 2011) and three MLS Cups (2011, 2012 and 2014). He was selected to the MLS Best XI four times (2010, 2011, 2013, 2014) and was named MLS Defender of the Year in 2011.

Both Erickson and Gonzalez were signed using targeted allocation money, which can bring down a player's salary cap hit to as low as US$150,000.

TAM may be used to sign new or re-sign existing players whose salary and acquisition costs are more than the maximum salary budget charge ($530,000) but less than $1.5 million.

 

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Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press

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