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Vancouver trade Sanna Nyassi to Colorado

NEW YORK – After making Sanna Nyassi their top pick in the 2010 Expansion Draft, the Vancouver Whitecaps turned around and shipped the Gambian to the Colorado Rapids in exchange for an international roster slot.

The 21-year-old Nyassi had a breakthrough season in his second year with the Seattle Sounders, highlighted by both goals in the US Open Cup championship match against the Columbus Crew in October. He was a starter on the right wing over the final six matches of the regular season for Seattle.

Nyassi will join the defending MLS Cup champions, who have featured Brian Mullan at right midfield and the platoon of Scottish veteran Jamie Smith and Wells Thompson on the left.

The trade was the second of the day in which Vancouver picked up an international slot in exchange for a player selected in the Expansion Draft. The Whitecaps also sent Alan Gordon and Alejandro Moreno to Chivas USA in exchange for an international slot and allocation money.

With the two trades, Vancouver now has 10 international slots while Colorado is down to six open slots.

“The players we did acquire [via the Expansion Draft] all have MLS experience and I’m sure they could have done a job for us,” Whitecaps FC President Bob Lenarduzzi said. “But we were looking for additional allocation and felt that it was more important at this point in terms of the additional players we’re looking to sign.

“Similarly the international spots were something that we also felt that if we wanted to give ourselves the best chance of rounding out the roster, they gave us more options than the certainty of the [Expansion Draft] players.”