Toronto FC get Argentine Vitti on loan

Toronto FC announced Monday that they have signed Argentine forward Pablo Vitti to a loan deal.

Toronto FC announced Monday that they have signed Argentine forward Pablo Vitti to a loan deal.

Financial terms and the length of the deal with Vitti, a member of Buenos Aires club Independiente, were not released.

Vitti joins the Major League Soccer outfit from FC Chernomorets Odessa of the Ukrainian Premier League where he was recently on loan.

Toronto had been negotiating with Vitti and Independiente for several weeks.

"We've kept tabs on him since he played here in the summer," said Toronto general manager Mo Johnston.

"We actually made him an offer after that game, but it was refused at that time. MLS can be a difficult league for players to adjust to straight away, so we are pleased that we could secure this loan deal now to allow Pablo time to adjust and settle in through a proper pre-season."

Johnston witnessed what Vitti is capable of when the Argentinian scored in a 1-0 win for Independiente in an exhibition game against Toronto FC at BMO Field last summer.

Vitti played alongside current FC Barcelona star Lionel Messi as a member of the Argentina youth team that won gold at the 2005 FIFA World Youth Championship in the Netherlands.

Vitti has played for some of the biggest teams in Argentina, including Rosario Central (his hometown club) and Banfield. His best season was in 2004-05 when he scored eight goals in 29 games for Rosario.

The addition of the Argentine forward is the latest move by Johnston to help bolster the team's attacking options after it scored 34 goals in 2008, the league's second-worst offensive record last season.

Johnston made a big splash in the transfer market in December when he landed Canadian attacking midfielder Dwayne De Rosario in a trade with the Houston Dynamo.

Toronto is currently holding a pre-season training camp in Florida. Vitti is expected to join his new teammates on Tuesday and will be officially added to the roster after he receives his work permit.

Toronto FC opens the 2009 MLS regular season on the road against the Kansas City Wizards on March 21.