Toronto FC signs Welsh international Earnshaw

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The Canadian Press
3/1/2013 1:42:03 PM
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TORONTO -- Toronto FC filled some of the sizable holes in its roster Friday, signing forwards Robert Earnshaw, Ashton Bennett and Taylor Morgan and midfielders Jonathan Osorio and Darel Russell.

Earnshaw, 31, most recently spent time on loan in Israel with Maccabi Tel Aviv from Welsh club Cardiff City, which plays in England's second-tier League Championship.

Earnshaw began his career with Cardiff City's youth program and turned professional in 1998. The Welshman has 168 appearances with the Bluebirds, scoring 83 goals in all competitions. He has also played for West Bromwich Albion, Norwich, Derby County and Nottingham Forest.

"Robbie is an experienced player who has been a consistent goal scorer for club and country," Toronto FC president and general manager Kevin Payne said in a statement. "With his pace and craftiness we expect him to create challenges for opposing defences. We're thrilled to have him join our team."

Earnshaw has earned 59 caps and scored 16 goals for the Wales. He made his international debut and scored the winning goal against Germany in a friendly at Millennium Stadium in May 2002.

Earnshaw remains the only player to record a hat trick in every professional division in England, including the FA Cup and League Cup.

He will be added to the roster upon receipt of his International Transfer Certificate (ITC).

Bennett, 24, was originally selected in the first round of the 2013 MLS supplemental draft from Coastal Carolina. He was born in Jamaica but holds Canadian residency. In two seasons with the Chanticleers, Bennett made 47 appearances scoring 39 goals and adding 16 assists.

Morgan, 22, was originally selected in the fourth round by the club in the 2013 MLS supplemental draft out of George Mason University. In three seasons with the Patriots, Morgan appeared in 50 games, scoring 23 goals and added seven assists.

Osorio, 20, began training with the Toronto FC academy in September 2012 and was invited to train with the first team this pre-season.

Prior to training with the academy, Osorio played in the Canadian Soccer League with SC Toronto. He has also played for Club National de Uruguay.

Russell, 32, most recently played for Portsmouth of England's League One, making 18 appearances this season.

Bennett, Morgan, Osorio and Russell joined Toronto for trials last month during pre-season in Orlando.

Robert Earnshaw (Photo: Stu Forster/Getty Images)

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(Photo: Stu Forster/Getty Images)
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