Photo by ISIPhotos.com
By DAN KARELL
Just a day into preseason training, the Vancouver Whitecaps have added two key pieces to their squad for the Major League Soccer season.
The Whitecaps confirmed on Monday that they have acquired right back Steven Beitashour from the San Jose Earthquakes in exchange for an undisclosed amount of allocation money, and signed him to a new contract. In addition the Whitecaps announced that they have come to terms with midfielder Mehdi Ballouchy after selecting him in the second phase of the MLS Re-Entry Draft.
Per league and team policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Beitashour comes in as a ready-made replacement for recently retired Lee Young-Pyo, though the Whitecaps could be without him for a chunk of the summer if he makes the Iranian World Cup squad. Beitashour chose to pledge his international future with his parents nation after finding himself far down the U.S. Men’s National Team depth chart.
“Steven is arguably the best right back in the league,” Whitecaps FC head coach Carl Robinson said in a statement. “He is fantastic on the defensive side of the ball and his ability to join the attack will make him a great addition to our club.”
The 30-year-old Ballouchy previously played with Robinson while with the New York Red Bulls. Entering his ninth MLS season, Ballouchy has made 185 regular season appearances for four clubs, scoring 13 goals and adding 25 assists.
“We are excited to welcome Mehdi to Vancouver,” Robinson said in a statement. “Having had the opportunity to work with Mehdi in New York, I am very familiar with the type player he is on the field and professional he is off the field. Mehdi will be a great addition to our club.”
Ballouchy has unfortunately missed much of the last two seasons recovering from back to back surgeries on a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). He’s currently rehabbing the injury and there’s currently no timetable for a return.
What do you think of this news? Like the signings? Do you see Beitashour stepping into the starting lineup? Do you expect Ballouchy to play major minutes when he returns from injury?
Share your thoughts below.