Newest Whitecap Pozniak to shore up defence

Will help fill in for captain Cann, who's joining national team

Ian Walker

Chris Pozniak isn't here for a long time, but having played for four teams in the last 18 months, that's nothing out of the ordinary for the newest Vancouver Whitecaps men's team signing.

Pozniak was released by Major League Soccer's Chivas USA earlier this month and joins the Whitecaps on what the player and team are calling a temporary basis. At least for now.

The timing of Prozniak's signing couldn't be better. Not with today's expected announcement that Whitecaps defender and captain Adrian Cann has been named to Canada's national team, which is set to play a pair of international friendlies in the coming weeks. Canada will face five-time world champion and FIFA No. 2 Brazil at Qwest Field in Seattle on May 31, followed by Panama in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on June 4. The call-up means Cann will miss at least a pair of United Soccer Leagues First Division road games.

"My goal is to try and win a contract in Europe in July for the start of their season and I wanted to find a place to train in the interim," said the defender/midfielder, while awaiting his luggage at the Vancouver International Airport before attempting to make the Whitecaps evening practice at the Burnaby Lake Sports Complex. "I'm so appreciative of the Whitecaps being so willing to help me out. From what I hear, it's a win-win situation. The Whitecaps have a busy schedule and have some players missing and needed someone to help fill the void. I'm happy to be that guy."

The 5-11, 175-pound defender began his professional soccer career at the age of 18 with the Toronto Lynx of the North American A-League. He spent three years with his hometown team before taking his skills overseas, where he split his five-year stay between Swedish club Orebro SK and FK Haugesund in Norway. He returned to Canada in 2006, signing with Toronto during its expansion MLS season. Used primarily as a utility player, Pozniak played in 22 games, starting 16 of them, and registering three assists before being selected with the 10th and final pick of the San Jose Earthquakes in the 2007 MLS expansion draft. He was traded to Chivas USA on March 28, where he played in four games before being released two weeks ago.

"The main thing is we get one more quality player on the roster," said Whitecaps head coach Teitur Thordarson, whose team will look to extend its current three-game undefeated streak on Friday against the Seattle Sounders in the second match of a doubleheader at Swangard. (The Whitecaps women host W-League Western Conference expansion side Los Angeles Legends in the evening's first game.) "It's quite important to have one more player to count on. We're going to be on the road and we have some difficult opponents."

Pozniak, who was born in Krakow, Poland, and immigrated to Canada with his family in 1990, has been capped by Canada at the U-20, U-23 and senior levels. He competed in the 2001 FIFA World Youth Championship in Argentina and his first senior level cap for Canada came in the 2002 CONCACAF Gold Cup against Haiti as a late-game substitute. He has since earned a total of 21 caps, most recently Canada's 1-0 international friendly win over Martinique in France on Jan. 30.

It was Canadian head coach Dale Mitchell, a former Whitecaps head coach, who helped put Pozniak in touch with Vancouver.

"I called Dale to see if he knew anyone who could use a player and he put in to the Whitecaps and that was that," said Pozniak. "It didn't take long at all."

GOAL DUST: Whitecaps defender Lyle Martin was named to the USL-1's week five Team of the Week for his play in Vancouver's 1-0 road win over Miami last Friday.

© The Vancouver Sun 2008