There has been one thing constantly talked about since preseason camp began in Arizona for the Whitecaps. Who is going to score the goals? The panic felt by the fans and discussed by the media doesn’t seem to worry the Whitecaps organization or at least they don’t show it. As reported on the weekend, Director of Operations Tom Sohen was in Switzerland looking for help at the forward position. It took only a few days but the Whitecaps have found their man in Eric Hassili, a striker from the Swiss Super League
A teammate with Alain Rochat at FC Zurich, Eric Hassli is a 29 year old French forward who comes to the Caps as the proven goalscorer fans were looking for. The team is second in the Axpo Super League but Hassli is probably fourth on depth chart as the team is going with younger strikers and Hassli is coming off a serious leg injury. He is a known for his strength as he is a 6’4” forward with good technical skills and has scored the spectacular goal on occasion as you can see in the video below. He is by no means slow on the field as his blend of speed and size is what the Whitecaps are looking for in a striker.
Hassli started his career in the youth system of his hometown (Sarreguemines) before earning his first contract with FC Metz. After a brief loan with Sunderland, he moved to the Swiss League where after toiling with a couple clubs had a breakthrough with St. Gallen. He joined a French side for a year before returning to Switzerland with FC Zurich since 2007 where he has scored 23 goals in 80 games.
With the Swiss league entering the second half of the season Hassli should be ready and match fit for the Caps. He of course needs to build chemistry with the rest of the team but it should help that former Zurich defender Alain Rochat will be able to help with the transition. In addition to more Swiss league players on the team, there are a number of players who speak French including head coach Teitur Thoradson.
If Hassli is able to start soon, the Whitecaps will be able to move Atiba Harris to his natural right midfield spot and Shea Salinas can switch from the right side to the left side which he is capable of playing. The Whitecaps organization seems confident that they found the right man as they handed Hassli a four year contract but it is not yet known whether it is for DP money. Although FC Zurich is in the middle of their season will be joining the team immediately and may be ready for March 19th. UPDATE: The Whitecaps have confirmed that Hassli is signed as the team's first DP and will count $335,000 against the salary cap.