Toronto FC made a big splash in the transfer market on Friday, acquiring hometown boy Dwayne DeRosario from the Houston Dynamo for young defender Julius James and allocation money.
De Rosario is a three-time MLS all-star and four-time MLS Cup winner with Houston and the San Jose Earthquakes. The flashy midfielder from the Scarborough section of Toronto was named MVP of the league championship game after scoring the winning goal in both 2001 with San Jose and 2007 with Houston.
De Rosario, 30, has 51 goals and 42 assists in eight MLS seasons. He won the MLS goal of the year award in 2004 and 2005.
"Dwayne is a player we've admired for quite some time. When the chance came to work with Houston to get this deal, we were obviously very happy," Toronto manager Mo Johnston said in a statement.
De Rosario, who has 15 goals in 53 appearances for the Canadian national team, figures to boost an anemic Toronto offence that managed just 34 goals in 30 games this year. That was the second-lowest total in the league, and Toronto finished last in the Eastern Conference.
It appears Houston was eager to shed De Rosario's hefty salary. He made $325,000 US last season, comfortably above the league average.
"Over the last few days, it became apparent that this move was necessary," Dynamo CEO Chris Canetti said in a statement. "Before the trade, our salary cap limitations precluded us from making any significant moves. We now have plenty of flexibility on how we want to build our roster and field another very competitive squad, both domestically and internationally."
James played 13 games during his rookie season in Toronto, making $44,750. The 24-year-old earned his first cap for Trinidad and Tobago in September.
He was the ninth overall selection in the 2008 SuperDraft out of the University of Connecticut.
"Julius is an aggressive, fast defender that fits really well in our style of play. I think he has a very bright future, not only in our club, but also in Major League Soccer," said Kinnear.