[MLS 2013 COUNTDOWN] Ryan Nelsen has lots of pieces to fill if he is going to build Toronto FC into a playoff contender, and he hopes Englishman Hogan Ephraim will be a start. In the first move since retiring as a player at Queens Park Rangers and taking over as TFC's head coach, Nelsen signed the 24-year-old winger on loan from QPR and believes he'll become a Reds' fan favorite despite his long history of loan moves -- five in seven years in England -- and inability to earning a starting job at QPR, last in the English Premier League.
“Hogan is very strong technically, he has a great attitude and wants to get games under his belt,” Nelsen said in a club statement. “We’re very fortunate to have him, he is a player that can excite the crowd and I feel the fans will look forward to being able to see him in action.”
Toronto is also interested in seeing if Tottenham midfielder John Bostock, who had been in the San Jose Earthquakes' camp, and former Wales striker Rob Earnshaw can help.
CHICAGO.The Chicago Fire acquired forward Quincy Amarikwa from Toronto FC in exchange for a first-round selection in the 2014 MLS Supplemental Draft. The Fire will be the former UC Davis star's fourth MLS club after San Jose (one goal in 24 games), Colorado (three goals in 31 games) and Toronto (two goals in 14 games).
CHIVAS USA.Chivas USA signed Mexican-American midfielders Josue Soto and Emilio Orozco. Soto, a native of Texas, played his collegiate career at Campbell and SMU but never broke in at Houston after signing a homegrown contract, and Orozco, a former member of the U.S. U-17 and U-20 teams, spent time with the Tigres youth program in Mexico and with the NASL Fort Lauderdale Strikers last season.
COLUMBUS.The Crew will have MLS's only father-son team in 2013. It signed midfielder Konrad Warzycha, son of head coach Robert Warzycha, after two seasons with Sporting Kansas City, where he played one minute. The Crew also added another midfielder, Shawn Sloan (66th pick overall in the 2013 MLS Supplemental Draft out of High Point), as well as defender Kyle Hyland (homegrown signing out of IUPUI).
NEW ENGLAND.The Revs signed midfielder Donnie Smith and goalkeeper Luis Soffner, both selected in the second round of the 2013 MLS SuperDraft. Smith, who was named to the 2011 NCAA College Cup all-tournament team when Charlotte reached the final, saw extensive action in preseason. Soffner was a four-year starter at Indiana and earned NCAA College Cup Most Outstanding Defensive Player honors in leading the Hoosiers to the 2012 NCAA championship.