Toronto FC signed winger Hogan Ephraim on loan from Queens Park Rangers on Wednesday, a day after club president Kevin Payne promised “the cavalry is coming.”
“We needed to bring some quality in,” Toronto head coach Ryan Nelsen said. “Hogan hopefully will be one of a few who will be coming in.”
The team, which opens the Major League Soccer season Saturday in Vancouver, also acquired a first-round pick in the 2014 supplemental draft from Chicago for forward Quincy Amarikwa as its off-season makeover continues.
The 24-year-old Ephraim will be added to the roster upon receipt of his international transfer certificate. He’s also only on loan until June from the English Premier League club.
“We both know what we can do at the end of (the loan deal), but right now it’s just getting focused on the games,” Ephraim said following his first practice Wednesday. “I want to impress them and hopefully I’ll enjoy it here as well and enjoy my football and then we’ll look beyond that. But for the moment we just want to get down to playing soccer and getting some good results.”
Ephraim signed with QPR in January 2008 and was a member of the squad that secured promotion to the Premier League in the 2010-11 season.
The move reunited Ephraim with Nelsen, his former QPR teammate. Nelsen played his last match for the West London club — and the final one of his career — Jan. 20 in a 0-0 draw with Manchester City.
“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,” Nelsen said.
Tottenham midfielder John Bostock and Cardiff forward Robert Earnshaw are also believed to be close to signing loan deals.
Canadian international Jaime Peters, formerly of Ipswich Town, was also Toronto’s practice Wednesday north of downtown.
Ephraim said he’ll likely line up on the wing or behind the striker.
“I’m comfortable with both positions,” Ephraim said. “I just want to fit into the team’s system and play my part.”
Ephraim represented England at the U16, U17, U18 and U19 levels. He was a member of England’s UEFA U-17 European Championship squad in 2005, where he recorded two goals in three matches.
Amarikwa, 25, was acquired by Toronto from the New York Red Bulls on July 21, 2012. He made 14 total appearances for the Reds, scoring two goals and adding an assist.
Amarikwa was not in Toronto’s camp heading into this season. Toronto and Amarikwa were unable to agree on a contract, but the team retained his rights.