Sports

Gilberto back in MLS with the Chicago Fire

TORONTO - Former Toronto FC striker Gilberto has rejoined Major League Soccer as a designated player with the Chicago Fire.

The Brazilian had been on loan to Vasco da Gama due to Toronto's logjam at designated player. But the Brazilian club released him recently.

"I don't have a lot of details on that. I do know that they are in financial straits," said Toronto GM Tim Bezbatchenko.

Bezbatchenko said Gilberto had been claimed off waivers by Chicago.

The Fire (5-11-4) had first crack in the waiver draft order, since they are currently last in the league standings.

With three designated players already on the books — Michael Bradley, Sebastian Giovinco and Jozy Altidore — Toronto had no room and likely little interest in the Brazilian, whose 2015 salary is listed at US$1.2 million.

"We're very happy with Jozy," Bezbatchenko said of the U.S. international.

Having Gilberto land with an Eastern Conference team "is not the ideal scenario."

"But it's also something that happens in our league," said the Toronto GM.

Bezbatchenko said Toronto had received a loan fee for Gilberto from Vasco and would get a piece of any future sale. But the club got nothing extra in Monday's transaction.

To free up a designated player spot, Chicago used targeted allocation money to lower the budget charge of Kennedy Igboananike. Chicago's three DPs are now Gilberto, Shaun Maloney and David Accam.

Gilberto did not qualify for the newly announced targeted allocation money, according to Bezbatchenko.

Chicago earlier announced a sign-and-trade deal with Montreal, acquiring general and targeted allocation money from the Impact in exchange for Ivory Coast international Didier Drogba.

"Gilberto is in the prime of his career and can immediately help our club push toward the MLS Cup Playoffs this year and for years to come," Fire coach Frank Yallop said in a statement. "We've been tracking Gilberto for some time now and knew he could become available due to Toronto FC's designated player situation.

"He's shown he can score goals in this league and we look forward to him joining our club here in Chicago."

Gilberto, 26, scored seven goals in 28 league games for Toronto last season.

Chicago is tied for 15th in the league in goals per game, averaging 1.1.

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