For four seasons, Blas Perez tormented Vancouver Whitecaps FC on the pitch and drew the ire of its supporters as a member of FC Dallas. Now that ‘foe’ has become ‘friend’ after the Panamanian international completed his move to the Blue and White on Monday.
Though out of contract, Dallas retained the 34-year-old’s MLS rights, meaning the Whitecaps had to complete a deal with its Western Conference rival. As a result, Vancouver dealt veteran Argentine playmaker Mauro Rosales’ rights to Dallas, who was also out of contract after spending a season-and-a-half with Carl Robinson’s side.
Perez joined his new teammates for preseason training in Tucson, Arizona, earlier this month, along with fellow new signing Christian Bolanos. The Costa Rica international arrived as scheduled after completing his move to the MLS club late last month.
"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," Whitecaps head coach Carl Robinson said in a statement. "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."
An imposing figure at 6-foot-1, Perez offers size and bite in a dynamic-looking Whitecaps attack keen to score plenty of goals in 2016. Not since Tom Heinemann in 2013 has Vancouver had a ‘big target’ striker in its ranks.
Perez’s battling qualities have made him infamous with the opposition since he arrived in MLS in 2012. His 103 total appearances with FC Dallas not only registered 37 goals, he was booked 15 times and sent off five times during those four seasons with the Texas outfit. His efforts with Dallas were not lost on Vancouver either, as he scored four goals in 10 games versus the Whitecaps.
"I'm very excited about this new opportunity in my professional career," Pérez said. "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."
Perez is widely expected to provide cover for the likes of Japanese newcomer Masato Kudo and the returning Octavio Rivero. With over a century of international caps for his native Panama, it remains to be seen if Perez’s availability in Vancouver this season will be limited through call-ups to Los Canaleros.
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