Vancouver Whitecaps sign Venezuelan league top scorer Blondell

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Denny Medley
The MLS side has used targeted allocation money to sign the 23-year-old Venezuela international through 2020

The Vancouver Whitecaps have signed Venezuelan Primera Division top scorer Anthony Blondell from Monagas, the MLS side announced Thursday.

Vancouver used targeted allocation money to acquire Blondell, who has agreed to a contract through 2020 with a club option for 2021. The Whitecaps sent $50,000 in general allocation money to FC Dallas for the right of first refusal for the 23-year-old striker.

Blondell, who made his international debut for Venezuela in a friendly against Iran earlier this month, led the Primera Division with 23 goals in 2017 as Monagas won the Torneo Apertura title and advanced to the Torneo Clausura semifinal.

"Anthony is a highly sought-after player with huge potential," Whitecaps coach Carl Robinson said in a news release. "He's an exciting young player with the key attributes you want in any forward player. He's strong, quick, and powerful.

"It will be important that we don't expect too much of him too soon, as he will be one of a number of additions we are looking at bringing in for next season, and will complement our existing group of attacking players."

Blondell seems poised to fill the void left by Fredy Montero, who led the Whitecaps with 13 goals this past season but is now under contract at Chinese Super League side Tianjin Teda after the expiration of his one-year loan.

A 6-foot-1 forward, Blondell has scored 33 goals in 115 appearances over six seasons in the Venezuelan top flight. He debuted for Yaracuyanos in 2013 at age 18, then played for Zamora from 2014 to 2016 before signing with Monagas last year.

Blondell joins Erik Hurtado as the only natural strikers on Vancouver's roster, with Bernie Ibini and Brek Shea also capable of playing up top for Robinson's side.

"I am honored to join Whitecaps FC and make Vancouver my new home," Blondell said. "I have thoroughly enjoyed my time playing in my homeland and now is the right time for a new challenge and to make the next step in my career. I look forward to scoring goals and helping Vancouver win trophies."

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