VANCOUVER, BC – At long last, Vancouver Whitecaps FC have addressed their need for a backup goalkeeper, signing 25-year-old shot-stopper Paolo Tornaghi.
The Italian fills the void left behind starting netminder David Ousted, which has been vacant since the 'Caps passed on Joe Cannon's 2014 option and then traded Brad Knighton to New England Revolution this offseason.
Tornaghi joins after two seasons with Chicago Fire, where he played nine times, posting a record of 3W-4L-2D.
“We needed a 'keeper, obviously,” Whitecaps head coach Carl Robinson told reporters following a training session at the University of British Columbia on Tuesday. “Tornaghi became available, we were aware of it, it was the right deal for us.”
Like Ousted, Tornaghi, who came through Inter Milan's youth system, is a goalkeeper comfortable with the ball – an essential feature for the ball-on-the-deck, possession-style soccer Robinson is attempting to implement with Whitecaps FC.
“He's very good with his feet,” Robinson said. “We had reports from [former Chicago Fire director of soccer operations] Javier Leon who said he was a great kid, works hard, comes to work every day and wants to get better. I'm developing a squad here that wants to get better every day and we're going to push every day, so he fitted in that category.”
Check out Paolo Tornaghi's MLS Save of the Week nominee
As for the goalkeeper himself, he's just happy to get back on the training ground after an offseason of uncertainty.
“It was a good experience for me down in Chicago,” Tornaghi said Tuesday. “My first two years in MLS, but that's the past. Now I'm very focused on my present, on my future, here with the Whitecaps ... it was quite a long offseason, since last November. Of course it's a great opportunity for me to come back in MLS."
“My first training here was quite good, so I'm looking forward for the next days.”
With the addition of Tornaghi, the club now has two goalkeepers on the books.
This means the third spot will likely go to the winner of the preseason battle between 23-year-old Simon Thomas, a Whitecaps FC Residency graduate who was on the MLS squad in 2013 but didn't play, and 17-year-old Residency player Marco Carducci, who was named the Canadian U-17 player of the year in 2012 and 2013.
Martin MacMahon covers Vancouver Whitecaps FC for MLSsoccer.com.
Whitecaps FC begin their 2014 MLS season on March 8 versus New York Red Bulls at BC Place. Season tickets start at just $349, subject to applicable fees. The 'Caps also offer a flexible range of ticket products, including half-season tickets ($244), 5-packs ($149), student season tickets ($199), and a youth soccer half-season ticket ($100). For more information on all Whitecaps FC ticket options, call 604.669.9283 ext. 2 or visit whitecapsfc.com/tickets.