Vancouver Whitecaps FC's rotten, no good, awful 2022 luck in terms of availability has somehow hit a new rock bottom.
On Friday, the club found out both healthy goalkeepers Isaac Boehmer and Cody Cropper were placed in MLS health and safety protocols and will be unavailable for Sunday's game at Charlotte FC (5 pm ET | MLS LIVE on ESPN+).
With starter Thomas Hasal sidelined by a finger injury that's expected to keep him out another few weeks, the Whitecaps were left with no senior goalkeepers and few options.
In the end, the Whitecaps sorted the loan of Niko Giantsopoulos from CPL side York United. Further, academy goalkeeper Max Anchor has signed an MLS NEXT Pro contract, an agreement for an MLS homegrown contract for next season, and has been added to the first-team roster via a short-term agreement, a source confirmed a report from Har Johal of HarJournalist.com.
Hasal traveled as well, but it's unlikely he'd be able to play, per sources.
Canadian work permit needed
The Whitecaps continued to work through scenarios after being dealt a bad hand. The typical option in this scenario would have been an MLS pool goalkeeper, but it's unclear if the league signed one after Greg Ranjitsingh, last year's pool GK, was signed by Toronto FC. Sources say a pool GK was not an option for Vancouver, though it's unknown whether that means there aren't any pool GKs or if there were just none who had an International Transfer Certificate to play in Canada.
The ITC played a role in the potential short-term loan pool as well.
Due to the MLS transfer window being closed, any player added on a short-term loan (or pool GK) would have to have a work permit in Canada. Vancouver can't temporarily add a player currently registered to an American club because they'd need to move his ITC, even if it's a player registered in MLS, due to the transfer window being closed.
Thankfully, York United don't have a CPL game this weekend and worked with the Whitecaps to allow Giantsopoulos to go on loan for the game. He traveled on Saturday to join up with his temporary teammates in Charlotte late in the evening.
Giantsopoulos, 27, has made 25 CPL appearances over the last two years. He played in Australia previously. Anchor, 17, is a highly-rated academy talent for Vancouver and a Canadian youth international, most recently with the U-20s in April.
In addition to the goalkeepers, midfielder Pedro Vite and defender Jake Nerwinski are unavailable Sunday while in health and safety protocols as well. Midfielder Caio Alexandre is yet to debut this year with injury, while DP midfielder Andres Cubas hasn't debuted yet after his transfer earlier this month. Starting defender Tristan Blackmon remains out.
Star midfielder Ryan Gauld is back from health and safety protocols after missing the last two games and is available for selection.
Déjà vu for the Whitecaps
This isn't even the first time a situation close to this has happened to the Whitecaps.
In 2020 at the MLS is Back Tournament, the club brought three goalkeepers. Backup Bryan Meredith had to leave after the death of his mother while Maxime Crepeau got injured, leaving the then-unknown Hasal as their only eligible GK. CF Montréal loaned Vancouver their third-string goalkeeper to serve as the backup for that game.
Hasal used the MLS is Back Tournament as a launching pad for his young career. Crepeau, last year's starting goalie for the Whitecaps, asked for a move away from the club just before preseason started and was traded to LAFC.