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Toronto FC lands Argentine duo, expected by end of month

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The Canadian Press
4/3/2013 2:19:46 PM
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TORONTO -- Reinforcements are on the way to Toronto FC.

The Canadian Press has learned that the MLS team has finalized deals for Argentine striker Maximiliano Urrutti and an Argentine midfielder.

Both are expected at the club by the end of the month.

Toronto FC is also working on landing an attacking midfielder in the summer.

The 22-year-old Urrutti, who plays for Newell's Old Boys, has been reported a target of Toronto, although club officials have referred only to chasing an Argentine forward.

The club is looking at possibly categorizing one of the Argentines as a so-called "young designated player."

Only US$200,000 of the annual salary of a DP aged 21 to 23 counts against the club's salary cap, less if signed mid-season.

Toronto (1-2-1) has the ability to accommodate the two Argentines, who are the rewards for some gruelling travel by chief scout Pat Onstad. Assistant coach Fran O'Leary has also travelled to South America.

The club currently has nine international slots on its roster and is using seven: defenders Richard Eckersley and Darren O'Dea, midfielders John Bostock, Hogan Ephraim, Reggie Lambe, and strikers Robert Earnshaw and Taylor Morgan.

Injured striker Danny Koevermans will take up another international slot when he returns to action.

English defender-midfielder Darel Russell has a green card so is not considered an international.

Teams start with eight international spots but can add or subtract that number via trade. Toronto has an extra via a trade with Houston. The slot reverts to the Dynamo next season. Toronto will get that slot back, however, since one previously sent to Vancouver in a trade is due to come back in 2014.

Manager Ryan Nelsen now finds himself with selection choices in midfield. In recent weeks, Bostock and Lambe have played on the wing with Terry Dunfield and Jeremy Hall in centre midfield and Ephraim playing off striker Earnshaw.

American Luis Silva, expected to be one of the team's creative cogs in midfield, returned to action last weekend from a hamstring strain and set up a goal by fellow substitute Jonathan Osorio.

Another talented Canadian rookie, Kyle Bekker, waits in the wings. TFC has high hopes for him.

"It will get harder soon if we can add a couple more players," Nelsen said Wednesday of his midfield selection questions. "And then all of a sudden we're starting to have some real good options. It's just finding the right people in the right spots to help Toronto win."

Dunfield did not practise Wednesday after jarring his knee in training at BMO Field on Tuesday. Nelsen called it "just precautionary." Defender Danny Califf was also absent due to the flu.

Toronto hosts Western Conference leader FC Dallas (4-1-0) on Saturday.

BMO Field (Photo: Mike Lawrie/Getty Images)

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(Photo: Mike Lawrie/Getty Images)
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