July 31, 2019 / 2:00 AM / 22 days ago

MLS transactions: Playoff hopefuls look overseas for offense

Sitting one point out of the playoffs in the Eastern Conference standings, Toronto FC on Tuesday turned to Europe in an effort to boost their offense.

FILE PHOTO - Soccer Football - Coupe de La Ligue Final - Strasbourg v Guingamp - Stade Pierre Mauroy, Villeneuve-d'Ascq, France - March 30, 2019 Guingamp's Nicolas Benezet in action REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol

The club announced it has signed French midfielder/winger Nicolas Benezet on loan with an option to buy from French Ligue 2 squad Guingamp. The Reds will use targeted allocation money to pay for the deal.

Benezet, 28, had 12 goals and 10 assists in 86 games for Guingamp, which was relegated from Ligue 1 following a last-place showing last season. His versatility was a big draw for the Reds.

“The goal is that he comes and he lights it up here. And that we keep him here and he helps our team moving forward,” Toronto coach Greg Vanney said after training Tuesday, per the Canadian Press. “The more stable we can be going from one year to the next has proven for us to be more successful than going through lots of changes.”

Toronto (9-9-5, 32 points) sits one point behind both Montreal and New England for the final playoff spots in the East.

—Orlando City SC, one spot further down the standings but six points behind Toronto FC, also signed a midfielder, 29-year-old Mauricio Pereyra through the 2020 season.

The free agent was most recently on FC Krasnodar in Russia, with whom he scored 29 goals and tallied 33 assists in 201 games, from 2013 through the end of the 2019 campaign.

Only three teams in all of MLS have scored fewer than Orlando City’s 30 goals this season.

—San Jose used its targeted allocation money to sign Argentine forward Andres Rios, who most recently won the Argentine Primera Division title with Racing Club.

The 29-year-old signed with Racing in January but played in only two games. Before that he scored 10 goals and added two assists in 45 matches with Vasco de Gama in Brazil.

—Field Level Media

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