FC Dallas coach says Toronto FC striker Eric Hassli can help his club fill void

Associated Press

TORONTO - Pending league approval, Toronto FC striker Eric Hassli appears headed to FC Dallas — and a warm welcome.

"He's a goal scorer," Dallas coach Schellas Hyndman was quoted by mlssoccer.com after a Saturday exhibition win over the University of Memphis. "He's a player that will be in the right place in the right time and if he's not scoring goals, he will be creating goals for players."

FC Dallas is looking for offence in the wake of Brek Shea's departure to England's Stoke City. And Panamanian forward Blas Perez is facing a two-game suspension to open the MLS season, as well as plenty of international duty.

FC Dallas tweeted its interest in Hassli on Friday. Toronto has declined comment, although president and GM Kevin Payne has said the club is looking to ease its salary cap crunch.

"We're hoping that it all does come true," Hyndman told reporters. "Because one of the things we said is the sale of Brek should give us an opportunity to go get some players we need. You take a look at today, we need finishers. With Blas being gone as much as he is, we need somebody to carry that along."

Hassli made US$790,000 last season, of which $350,000 counted against the salary cap by virtue of his designated player status.

The 31-year-old Frenchman joined Toronto from Vancouver last July after Koevermans tore up his knee. But injuries restricted the tattooed striker to just seven games in Toronto.

He ended the season with three goals for Toronto and two for Vancouver, for whom he saw action in 18 games. Hassli scored 10 goals in 26 games for Vancouver in 2011, his first season in MLS.

Hassli's contract was renewed by Paul Mariner in November, just days before the former England international was fired as Toronto's coach and director of player development.

Hassli, who was a Mariner fan, reportedly wanted out of Toronto after the coaching change. But Hassli disputed that when he reported to camp and Payne, who was hired after the new Hassli contract was sealed, said Thursday that the Frenchman was not making waves.

"He's been a good soldier since he's been here this week and he's working hard," Payne said. "We all know he's got quality, when he's healthy. So the jury's out on Eric, too."

Toronto has sent a designated played to Dallas before. TFC shipped Canadian midfielder Julian de Guzman to the Texas club last July for forward Andrew Wiedeman.

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