Whitecaps expected to add two significant players to roster

Feb 7 2023, 2:44 pm

The Whitecaps are closing in on two key additions to the roster for the upcoming 2023 MLS season.

Vancouver has been in the market for a quality striker and a No.1 starting goalkeeper, with the Whitecaps finalizing a pair of moves to strengthen both positions.

Daily Hive has learned that the Whitecaps are expected to complete the transfer of Venezuelan striker Sergio Cordova as early as today. The Whitecaps are also in the final stages of acquiring Japanese goalkeeper, Yohei Takaoka from the Yokohama F Marinos.  

Cordova would replace the departed Lucas Cavallini as the Whitecaps’ top forward and compete with fellow strikers Brian White and Simon Becher for playing time.

Takaoka would be expected to emerge at the Whitecaps no.1 goalkeeper this season. 

Whitecaps coach Vanni Sartini knows the club has been actively linked to both Cordova and Takaoka, but until both players have been officially announced, he isn’t saying much.

“Yeah, it’s no secret that we’re close to these guys,” Sartini told Daily Hive over the weekend. “I’m going to talk extensively about them when I see them in person, if they come, hopefully they come. We’re close.”

The 25-year-old Cordova would join Vancouver from Bundesliga side FC Augsburg and would occupy the third Whitecaps Designated Player spot. 

Cordova’s move to the west coast comes with a reported US transfer fee of $2.2 million. 

After moving to FC Augsburg in July, 2017, Cordova spent last season on loan in MLS with Real Salt Lake. Cordova scored nine goals and added two assists in 33 appearances.

Cordova caught fire in the second half of the season scoring five goals in the final 11 games. He also added a brace in Real Salt Lake’s first round playoff exit to Austin FC.

The 26-year-old Takaoka would join Vancouver from the Marinos where he has spent the last three seasons. Takoka has made 111 appearances in the Japan’s first division. 

“I can say that they’re both very good players,” Sartini said. “One is a very good goalkeeper and one is a good striker. I hope to talk about them in the future, because it means that they will arrive.”

The Yokohama native would join a Whitecaps club that’s looking for consistency in net.

Vancouver struggled to get top level goalkeeping last season and cycled through four keepers including, Thomas Hasal, Cody Cropper, and academy keepers, Isaac Boehmer and Max Anchor.

Cordova and Takaoka would be the third and fourth additions to the Whitecaps roster during the offseason, joining centre backs Mathias Laborda and Karifa Yao. 

Upon completion of the transfer for the Takaoka, he would be able to join the Whitecaps in Palm Springs, California for preseason while he awaits to receive his visa. 

The Whitecaps 2023 5th overall MLS SuperDraft pick, JC Ngando has yet to join Vancouver in Palm Springs as he continues to await the completion of his visa.

Vancouver will open the 2023 MLS regular season against Cordova’s former club Real Salt Lake on Saturday, February 25 at BC Place. 

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