TRANSFER TRACKER STATUS: Signing
Sergio Córdova is indeed returning to Major League Soccer, though the Venezuelan international striker will now don a Vancouver Whitecaps FC kit.
The Canadian club announced Monday they’ve acquired the 25-year-old from German Bundesliga side FC Augsburg, signing him to a Designated Player deal. His contract runs through the 2025 MLS season with an option for 2026.
To complete the deal, Vancouver sent Real Salt Lake their first-round pick in the 2024 MLS SuperDraft presented by adidas and up to $300,000 in General Allocation Money (GAM) after he spent the 2022 MLS campaign on loan at the Western Conference side from Augsburg. RSL looked to bring Córdova back, and while a deal wasn’t reached for him to rejoin Pablo Mastroeni’s side, they received compensation by holding the player’s MLS rights.
"Sergio is a player who impressed us during his first year in MLS with Real Salt Lake and arrives in Vancouver as he enters his prime," Vancouver sporting director Axel Schuster said in a release. "He fits the profile of a striker we want to have amongst our group. He is a proven goalscorer in our league, brings size and strength, as well as tenacity in the final third. We’re excited to welcome Sergio to Vancouver and our club."
Córdova, who tallied 11 goals and two assists across 35 all-competition games for RSL, gives Vancouver a leading striker after Canadian international and club-record signing Lucas Cavallini formally wasn’t retained in November. Cavallini, after tallying 18g/3a in 63 games for Vancouver, has since signed in Liga MX for Club Tijuana.
Beyond MLS, Córdova scored nine goals in 98 Bundesliga games across his time with Augsburg and Arminia Bielefeld (loan). He's also played 16 times for Venezuela, though hasn't scored at the senior international level.
Aside from Córdova, Vancouver have Brian White and Simon Becher to round out their No. 9 depth chart. White has 16g/6a in 53 games since arriving via trade from the New York Red Bulls in June 2021, while Becher spent most of last year in MLS NEXT Pro.
By signing Córdova, the Whitecaps now have all three DP spots filled. Attacking midfielder Ryan Gauld and defensive midfielder Andres Cubas also hold that roster status.
"I'm very happy to come to Whitecaps FC,” said Córdova. "I am excited, motivated and 100 percent convinced that this year we will achieve great things. I will do my best for this family. See you soon."
Córdova is the second Augsburg player to transfer onto an MLS roster this winter after Ecuadorian international midfielder Carlos Gruezo joined the San Jose Earthquakes as a DP. In January 2022, FC Dallas also transferred US international striker Ricardo Pepi to Augsburg in a club-record deal.
Vancouver, one of MLS’s five Concacaf Champions League teams this year, are the reigning Canadian Championship winner. Their 2023 league campaign begins Feb. 25 against none other than RSL, possibly giving Córdova an early test against his old team (10:30 pm ET | MLS Season Pass). The Whitecaps were four points off the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs pace in 2022, finishing ninth in the West.
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