Vancouver Whitecaps sign Venezuelan international striker Anthony Blondell

TRANSFER TRACKER STATUS: Signing

The Vancouver Whitecaps made the first signing of their offseason on Thursday, when they announced that they’ve acquired striker Anthony Blondell from Venezuelan Primera club Monagas SC.

Blondell, 23, will be added to Vancouver’s roster using Targeted Allocation Money. The Venezuelan international is signed through 2020, with a club option for 2021. Vancouver acquired the MLS right of first refusal for Blondell from FC Dallas in exchange for $50,000 in General Allocation Money.

 “Anthony is a highly sought-after player with huge potential,” Vancouver head coach Carl Robinson said in a statement released by the club. “He’s an exciting young player with the key attributes you want in any forward player. He's strong, quick, and powerful. It will be important that we don't expect too much of him too soon, as he will be one of a number of additions we are looking at bringing in for next season, and will complement our existing group of attacking players.”

Blondell led the Venezuelan Primera with 23 goals in 33 starts and 37 appearances and helped Monagas to the Apertura title in 2017. The 6-foot-1 forward earned his first cap for Venezuela national team in a friendly against Iran on Nov. 13. He’s spent his entire career in the Venezuelan top flight, making his professional debut in February 2013 with Yaracuyanos FC before moving to Zamora FC in 2014, where he also won a pair of titles. He has 33 goals in 70 starts and 115 appearances across all competitions in his career.

Though they finished third in the West, Vancouver struggled at times in the attack in 2017, scoring just 50 goals in the regular season, third-fewest among playoff teams. Striker Fredy Montero, whose future is uncertain with his loan from Chinese club Tianjin Teda set to expire, produced with 13 goals, but was too often left on an island by his teammates. The club’s offensive struggles came to a notable head in the Western Conference Semifinals against Seattle, when they recorded just one shot on goal in the two-game series to fall 2-0 to the Sounders on aggregate. They’ll hope Blondell will help diversify and improve their attack in 2018.

“I am honored to join Whitecaps FC and make Vancouver my new home,” said Blondell. “I have thoroughly enjoyed my time playing in my homeland and now is the right time for a new challenge and to make the next step in my career. I look forward to scoring goals and helping Vancouver win trophies.”

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