Vancouver Whitecaps sign prolific Japanese goalscorer Masato Kudo

Masato Kudo - Kashiwa Reysol

The Vancouver Whitecaps added some firepower to their already potent attack on Tuesday, signing Japanese international striker Masato Kudo on a free transfer.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed, per league and club policy.

Kudo, 25, is the all-time leading goalscorer for J-League club Kashiwa Reysol, with 92 goals in 260 total appearances. He led Kashiwa Reysol to the J1 League championship in 2011.

"Masato has a very good goalscoring record and we are always looking at adding to the group," Whitecaps head coach Carl Robinson said in a statement. "He has a natural ability to find space in the box, which generates goalscoring opportunities. He is technically good with both feet and, as always required, he is a hard working player. Masato can play as a lone forward, or in a partnership, and is able to play wide when called upon."

Kudo joins a Whitecaps squad that already boasts some of the most exciting attacking talent in MLS, including Kekuta MannehCristian Techera, and Octavio Rivero. However, after lighting up the league for most of the season, the attack sputtered down the stretch, scoring just seven goals in their final eight regular-season matches and being shut out four times over that stretch. Come the playoffs, they continued to struggle and were ousted by the Portland Timbers after failing to score in their two-match aggregate series. 

Kudo might offer a solution next year. 

"I am thrilled to join Vancouver Whitecaps FC for the new season," Kudo said in a statement. "I am hoping to score as many goals as possible and help lead the team to victory. I am also really looking forward to playing in front of the great supporters at BC Place."

Kudo comes to Vancouver with a track record of success. Beyond his exploits in league play, he has scored one goal in three appearances for Kashiwa Reysol as they finished fourth at the 2011 FIFA Club World Cup. The goal came against Auckland City in the quarterfinal playoff match. 

He also has 10 goals to his name in 27 appearances in the AFC Champions League.
On the international level, Kudo hasmade four appearances for the Japanese national team, all in 2013. He scored twice in his limited minutes, including a goal against China in the East Asia Cup and against Guatemala in a friendly. Kudo was also with the Japan U-21 squad for the 2010 Asian Games, making three appearances for the Gold Medal-winning Japanese side.
Kudo will officially be introduced by the Whitecaps in the new year.