Sunday, March 13, 2011

Whitecaps Add Two To Roster

The Whitecaps expanded their roster by two with the signings of  midfielder/defender Blake Wagner and forward Long Tan.  Both players spent last season in USSF Division 2 soccer last season, Wagner with Caps and Tan with the Tampa Bay Rowdies.  They also come with different experience levels as Tan comes with no MLS games and Wagner is a former Generation Adidas player.  The Caps are looking for both to contribute this season and be able to chip in a few timely goals.

Wagner arrived in Vancouver at the beginning of the 2010 season with three years and 40 appearences for FC Dallas.  He has been in the US National program since the age of fourteen which included a trip to Peru for the U17 World Cup in 2005.  Despite having a scholarship offer from a NCAA school, Wagner decided to sign with MLS as a Generation Adidas player in 2006.  Last season Wagner suffered from a foot injury but returned to score four goals including a hat-trick against Miami FC.  During the preseason the left footed player’s playing time was split between both wide midfield and fullback positions on the left side.  He excels at attacking the box from out wide with his speed and unleashing a powerful shot and while not the best crosser on the team he has moments where he can place the ball in the right spot.  The main concern about Wagner in previous and this season is whether he can bring all his talents to the pitch on a consistent level.  There is a good possibility that Wagner will get some starts as his main competitors are either right footed (Khalfan), very young (Teibert), or spent the preseason recovering from injury (Nanchoff).

Tan was acquired as the player to be named later in a trade with Tampa Bay where the Whitecaps sent Jonny Steele and Ricardo Sanchez.  He started trialing when he joined the Whitecaps in the offseason during their winter training session in California.  Tan came to the States in 2009 when he joined Atlanta of the USL Premier Development League and scored six goals in sixteen matches.  After a failed trial with then expansion Philadelphia Union, Tan signed on with Tampa Bay for the 2010 season.  While his finishing ability is still lacking, the staff have been impressed with athletic ability and work rate.  Because Tan is behind Harris, Chiumiento, Salgado and Camilo on the depth chart, so he should see the majority of his playing time as a sub or in the reserve league.

UPDATE: According to the Province's Marc Weber Long Tan has a green card and counts as a domestic player for MLS.

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