January 12, 2007 Toronto FC drafts Maurice Edu (from Canadian Press)

Toronto FC picks Edu

INDIANAPOLIS (CP) - Job done for Toronto FC coach Mo Johnston, who leaves the MLS SuperDraft with a few more items on his shopping list ticked off.

Toronto FC chose University of Maryland midfielder Maurice Edu with the first pick of Friday's draft, before taking lanky New Zealand international defender Andrew Boyens and a pair of local players: midfielder Rich Asante and forward Jeff Gonsalves.

"We got what we're looking for. We're very happy," Johnston said.

"It was important that we came away from here with some quality players," the Scottish coach added. "And that's what we've done."

Toronto FC continued to reap the rewards of David Beckham coming to the MLS via the Los Angeles Galaxy. The expansion team announced Friday it had sold 1,036 season tickets in the wake of the Beckham news, boosting its total to 8,000 at BMO Field, which will accommodate 20,000.

A pair of season tickets sold approximately every three minutes, the club said.

Now Johnston renews his search for some more international talent, looking to add to his team's firepower.

"I'm looking at signing two internationals, maybe next week," he said.

That news could come as early as Monday, he added.

Edu is a 20-year-old from California who started 55 games in three seasons with the Terrapins. A defensive midfielder by trade, he can also move up into attack and scored four winning goals last season. The six-foot, 170-pounder had 10 goals and 11 assists in his collegiate career.

"He's a very good soccer player, he's got a great brain," Johnston said. " He's a good tackler. He's very, very similar to (Canadian international) Atiba Hutchinson. ..."

"I've been watching him the last year. He was the one on everyone's list. He wasn't at the players' (combine), but we had done our homework. He was the one we wanted."

Edu, who went into the draft after his junior year, led the Terps to the 2005 NCAA title. Maryland was 52-15-5 during his tenure.

In between Edu and the Canadians, Toronto made a trade to acquire the 10th overall pick from Los Angeles via Colorado. The expansion team used the selection to take the six-foot-four, 170-pound Boyens, a 23-year-old who played at New Mexico and is currently on New Zealand's national team.

"Again a tremendous athlete, good on the ball, can pop up with certain goals," Johnston said.

Toronto gave up a partial allocation - essentially cash - to the Galaxy to get the pick.

Asante, five-four and 160 pounds, went 27th overall and first in the third round.

The 22-year-old from Toronto played at Syracuse University and was a member of Canada's under-20 squad that advanced to the quarter-finals of the FIFA World Youth Championship in the United Arab Emirates in 2003.

"He's like a little pitbull," Johnston said.

Gonsalves, a 20-year-old forward, was the first pick in the fourth round, 40th overall.

The six feet and 160 pound native of Markham, Ont., played at Rhode Island, where he ranked second in the NCAA last season with 41 points, from 18 goals and five assists, and set a school career record appearing in 88 games.

Johnston said he will bring the young players in gradually, although he expects Edu to see some time as a starter.

"We'll coach them properly."

Toronto went into the draft with 12 players on its books, including Canadians Greg Sutton, Adam Braz, Chris Pozniak, Marco Reda and Jim Brennan.

Toronto kicks off the regular season April 7 against Chivas USA in Carson, Calif.

Its home opener is April 28 against the Kansas City Wizards.

The Chicago Fire picked Virginia defender Bakary Soumare second, trading with the Columbus Crew to move up from the eighth position. Columbus picked up a player to be named later.

Kansas City took North Carolina defender Michael Harrington third.

The four-round draft covered bother seniors from NCAA schools and players from Generation Adidas, a joint program between MLS and Adidas dedicated to developing young talent in a "professional environment."

Notes: Toronto FC plans to introduce Edu at a news conference Monday ... Johnston plans to fly to Florida after that to take in a Canadian national team training camp.

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