Newly signed designated player Pedro Morales is confident his dead ball ability can help the Vancouver Whitecaps. He expects to play some part in Saturday's season opener.
After reports for the past week or so linked Pedro Morales with the club, on Wednesday the Chilean international officially joined as a designated player.
Morales joins from Spanish side Malaga, where he scored four goals in 22 league matches. Prior to his time on the Iberian Peninsula, the 28 year old scored 26 goals in 87 league and European cup competition matches while on the books at Croatian side Dinamo Zagreb.
Internationally, he's scored three goals in 11 matches for Chile.
An offensive midfielder who will likely play behind a lone centre forward in Vancouver's 4-2-3-1 formation, Morales will also be expected to contribute from dead ball situations.
“It's one of the virtues I have,” Morales said at the University of British Columbia on Wednesday, through his agent, who translated from Spanish. “The set pieces, the free kicks, penalties. I hope that this can help the team for it to be in a higher rank in the league.
“If this virtue can help, it's favourable to everybody.”
Morales was in full training gear but didn't participate in practice due to his hectic travels of late. But the 28-year-old holds out hope of some involvement in Saturday's season opener at BC Place against the New York Red Bulls.
“I feel good for playing on Saturday,” Morales said in English, which he says he will focus on improving. “But I have [spent] too much [time] in airplane -- Madrid, Portland, Portland, New York, New York, Vancouver – but, tomorrow I think I feel good for the training.”
Whitecaps head coach Carl Robinson provided a bit of insight into the club's pursuit of Morales after Wednesday's session.
“I identified four or five players and he was in that group but I didn't think initially I could get him,” Robinson told reporters. “Over the course of a period of time it transpired that he may become available. Once I knew that he was available, he was my main target and one I chased after. It was a long process. We kept it under wraps for as long as we could before one or two people managed to find out.
“But it's all good now, because he's here.”