Vancouver Whitecaps FC made it official, announcing that they have landed 34-year-old super-pest Blas Pérez from FC Dallas, in exchange for midfielder Mauro Rosales.
Pérez, an antagonizing striker from Panama, agreed to a one-year contract pending receipt of his international transfer certificate.
“We know Blas is an excellent player from playing against him in the past four years and we’re excited to get the chance to work with him on a daily basis,” said Whitecaps FC head coach Carl Robinson. “In the short period of time that he’s been here, he’s shown how he can help our team, and also our group of forwards improve. We’re delighted to have him on board and the guys have welcomed him with open arms.”
Pérez recorded 36 goals and 14 assists in 97 regular season appearances for FC Dallas since 2012.
“I’m very excited about this new opportunity in my professional career,” said Pérez. “I have arrived in a beautiful city, to a great team that is very competitive. I will do my best in every training session and match, bringing my experience with me. I appreciate the confidence from the club and coaching staff, and I hope to repay it on the pitch by working hard for this team and by proudly representing my country, something I always try to do wherever I go.”
Look, I’ll be honest with you: I’m not a fan of this move, regardless of how much that opinion appears to contradict my desire for more goals from the Whitecaps. Losing Rosales I’m fine with; replacing him with a diving, cajoling, gamesmanship-playing pest whose trade came accompanied with a “hey, he’s really not that bad” fluff piece has me concerned.
Now, if that fluff piece is accurate, the Whitecaps’ famous locker room harmony remains intact even after the acquisition of the man nicknamed Super Ratón (“Mighty Mouse”). What the article doesn’t touch on is the other bit of Vancouver’s reputation that, sadly, is still intact: a culture of diving.
Fairly or not, the ‘Caps have been tarred with the “flopper” brush back since the days of
Futboldemort Camilo Sanvezzo. Carl Robinson’s penchant for Latin and South American players hasn’t helped that perception either, jaw-dropping talent of said players notwithstanding.
For all the wizardry Robbo’s signings have conjured, the lasting image on their opponents are players going down in the penalty box to draw fouls, arguably too softly at times.
Do we really think Pérez is going to help that reputation?
Best case scenario, even if he’s limited to coming off the bench late in a match to try and salvage a scoring chance for his teammates, Pérez is a CONCACAF veteran with 99 caps for Panama. He knows his way around some of the dark arts of gamesmanship, which might sneak past a referee in the heat of the moment but not the ever-watching eyes of the crowds both in the stadium and at home.
On the bright side, at least we won’t have to watch Pérez and Ousted nearly come to blows again.