VANCOUVER, BC – Finally, Vancouver Whitecaps FC have their coveted creative attacking midfielder.
Filling the club's third and final Designated Player slot, Chilean midfielder Pedro Morales joined Whitecaps FC on Wednesday after a spell with La Liga club Málaga.
Set to play in an advanced position in the centre of the "3" in Vancouver's 4-2-3-1 formation, the 28-year-old is expected to bring dynamism and a bit of magic to the 'Caps offence.
Robinson talks about the addition of Pedro Morales
“He'll make all the players around him better,” Whitecaps head coach Carl Robinson said after Wednesday's training session at the University of British Columbia. “He's something that we've been missing at this club for a number of years now, and I think he's a good addition.”
Morales is expected to contribute goals and set them up, both from open play and set pieces. He's scored three times in 11 appearances for Chile at the international level, and scored four times in 22 league matches for Malaga.
Prior to that, he scored 26 goals in 87 league and continental competition as a member of Croatian side Dinamo Zagreb.
Beyond Morales' playmaking ability, the Chilean's strength in dead-ball situations will be particularly useful.
“It's one of the virtues I have,” Morales said through his agent, who translated from Spanish. “The set pieces, the free kicks, penalties. I hope that this can help the team for it to be in a higher rank in the league.
“If this virtue can help, it's favorable to everybody.”
It's uncertain what sort of role Morales will play on opening day this Saturday, as Whitecaps FC host the New York Red Bulls at BC Place (4:30 p.m. PT, TSN in Canada, Team 1410 radio), but he hopes to play a part.
The midfielder came out to the field to watch training on Wednesday and plans to take part in Thursday's practice.
“I feel good for playing on Saturday,” Morales said in his limited English. “But I have [spent] too much [time] in airplane – Madrid, Portland, Portland, New York, New York, Vancouver – but, tomorrow I think I feel good for the training.”
Martin MacMahon covers Vancouver Whitecaps FC for MLSsoccer.com.