VANCOUVER, BC – As Axel Schuster and the Vancouver Whitecaps FC brass embarked on their search for new talent this offseason, they all agreed it was important not only to unearth hidden gems – so to speak – but to find players who were already established in their teams.
Players who are used to, well, playing. Not once in a while, but week in, week out.
Players who are used to contributing.
“If you want to have a competitive team, you should have some players who are absolutely used to competing every week,” Schuster said. “Not only to look for overseen talent, players who aren’t playing somewhere, but players who are very important to their team.”
In Colombian winger Cristian Dájome, the ‘Caps have found all those things.
Vancouver Whitecaps FC announced on Friday that the club has acquired Dájome via transfer from Colombian club Bogotá FC, signing the 26-year-old through 2021 with a club option for 2022 using Targeted Allocation Money.
The new ‘Caps attacker played at least 25 league matches in each of his last six seasons, across the Colombian leagues and most recently the Ecuadorian Serie A.
In 2019, Dájome played a starring role for Independiente del Valle, scoring nine goals across all competitions. Notably, he co-led the Ecuadorian Serie A side with four goals in the Copa Sudamericana – South America’s equivalent of the Europa League – en route to their first-ever international trophy.
Whitecaps FC head coach Marc Dos Santos described Dájome as an “explosive winger who can play either side and can be very dangerous in the final third.” In addition to being a goalscoring threat, Dájome has a knack for setting up his teammates from wide positions and playing balls in behind, which the ‘Caps believe will complement newly-signed Designated Player striker Lucas Cavallini. In 2019, for example, Dájome averaged 4.03 crosses and 4.17 throughballs per 90 minutes.
He also brings a strong work rate on both sides of the ball.
“As always, he has to fit our profile and what we want to be,” Schuster said. “Of course, he has a good one on ones, good finishing, good crossing, a typical winger who is all of that. You’ll find a lot of players with goal participations, but maybe they’re only waiting to get the ball and score. But he’s absolutely in our philosophy about defending and outworking opponents.”
“What you don’t always expect from a winger is that he comes back to your goal line and defends there to help,” Schuster continued. “If the ball is gone and the opponent is attacking, he’s not someone who waits until the other guys do their work and recover the ball again. That fits our cornerstones.”
So too does the fact that Dájome truly wants to be in Vancouver – as evidenced by the fact that he chose Whitecaps FC despite having other offers on the table.
“The player really wants to come here,” Schuster said.
He got his wish – and the ‘Caps got theirs.