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Vancouver Whitecaps sign Canadian striker Tosaint Ricketts

The Whitecaps add an experienced forward in an attempt to solve their goalscoring woes.

Jun 2, 2018; Columbus, OH, USA; Toronto FC forward Tosaint Ricketts (87) against the Columbus Crew SC at MAPFRE Stadium. (Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports)

The Vancouver Whitecaps have signed Canadian forward Tosaint Ricketts from Lithuanian side FK Sūduva. Ricketts signs through the end of the 2019 Major League Soccer season, and the club has an option to extend the contract through 2020. 

“You guys are all very aware that we were trying to get a forward,” head coach Marc Dos Santos said on Thursday. “We tried to sign a name that would make the fans happy.”

Vancouver attempted to sign a forward who would have been a designated player of significant stature. That deal, however, fell through, and the Whitecaps were left with contingency plans. Those contingency plans, despite reports from Montreal, ultimately did not include Anthony Jackson-Hamel. Instead, the Whitecaps managed to pull the trigger on Ricketts. 

“Tosaint is an experienced player who will have a fast adaptation period and provide us with another option for the remainder of this season,” Dos Santos said in a club statement. “This move gives both our club and Tosaint an opportunity to evaluate as we continue to compete for this season, as well as a platform for Tosaint to prove he can have a role on this team moving forward.”

The 32-year-old striker managed to score eight goals in 15 Lithuanian A Lyga games this season. Before his time in Lithuania, Ricketts spent three seasons with Toronto FC scoring 15 goals and recording three assists in 18 starts and 58 appearances in MLS regular season and playoff action.

A typical journeyman, Ricketts has spent time in Finland, Romania, Norway, Turkey and Israel, accumulating more than 150 appearances and scoring 36 goals. At the international level, the native of Edmonton, Alberta, has represented Canada 59 times, making 40 starts, while scoring 16 goals with four assists.

The Whitecaps are bottom in the Western Conference when it comes to scoring. They have just 25 goals in 25 games this season and have struggled with their link-up play in the final third. 

Vancouver’s biggest problem this season has been passes into the final third. Heading into match day 26, the ‘Caps are bottom of the league with 41.64 passes per 90 minutes played into the last third. 

Whether Ricketts  can fix Vancouver’s goalscoring problems remains to be seen. “When you look at our midfield there is a lack of volume and creativity, a guy that can link more with the forwards,” Dos Santos said. 

The striker is expected to arrive in Vancouver on Sunday, which means he will miss the Cascadia Cup derby against rivals Portland Timbers but will be available against D.C. United at BC Place Aug. 17. 

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