Peruvian striker Yordy Reyna is now a Whitecap. Wikimedia Commons photo.

Vancouver Whitecaps sign Peruvian international striker Yordy Reyna

Soccer star scored 14 times in 41 appearances over three plus seasons in Austria

VANCOUVER – The Vancouver Whitecaps have signed Peruvian international striker Yordy Reyna, the team announced Monday.

The 23-year-old joins the Major League Soccer club from Austrian Bundesliga champions FC Red Bull Salzburg.

Reyna, who can also play in midfield, was acquired using targeted allocation money.

He has agreed to a contract through the 2018 season, with team options for both 2019 and 2020.

“Reyna is an exciting, hard-working, young talent, and we are thrilled to add him,” Vancouver head coach Carl Robinson said in a press release. “He’s very direct with the ball, he can make the final pass, and he can score goals. He has all the attributes we want.”

Reyna scored 14 times in 41 appearances over three plus seasons in Austria with Salzburg and SV Grodig. He also has two goals in 17 appearances for his country.

While he isn’t the big-name forward Whitecaps fans have been pining for since Camilo Sanvezzo left Vancouver following the 2013 season, the club will be hoping five-foot-seven Reyna can help a sputtering attack.

Vancouver thought Octavio Rivero would be the answer, but he left in July after a disappointing 1 1/2 seasons. Masato Kudo was brought in ahead of the 2016 campaign, but he also failed to find traction and parted ways with the Whitecaps last month.

Reyna, whose deal with Vancouver is pending the receipt of his work papers, will occupy an international roster spot, but the club still has two designated player slots to fill with training camp set to open in Wales this week.

The Whitecaps’ biggest off-season move to date was the decision to cut ties with captain and playmaking midfielder Pedro Morales. The club’s highest-paid player was named the top newcomer in MLS in 2014, but injuries and inconsistent performances the last two years sealed his fate.

With the addition of Reyna, Vancouver’s current options up front include Kekuta Manneh, Giles Barnes, Erik Hurtado and Kyle Greig. Manneh spent most of last season on the wing before getting injured, while Barnes failed to impress after coming over in a trade with Houston.

Hurtado works hard, but has just seven goals in 78 career MLS games, and Greig was only just signed from Vancouver’s second-tier USL side.

The Whitecaps will play friendly matches against three English League One sides over the course of their 11-day camp in Wales before returning to North America to continue pre-season training.

Vancouver plays the first leg of its CONCACAF Champions League quarter-final on the road against the New York Red Bulls on Feb. 22.

The Whitecaps’ MLS schedule opens March 5 at home against Philadelphia.

– Joshua Clipperton, The Canadian Press

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