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Vancouver takes on Uruguayan flavor
by Ridge Mahoney, February 5th, 2014 4:35PM

TAGS:  mls, vancouver whitecaps


[MLS TRANSACTIONS] The makeover of the Whitecaps under new head coach Carl Robinson has brought in two new players from South America, both Uruguayan attackers.

Sebastian Fernandez and Nicolas Mezquida have been signed and will be registered to play once their international transfer certificates, work permits, and visas have been processed and received.

Both players have been acquired from Uruguayan second division club Boston River, though both have experience outside Uruguay. Fernandez comes to MLS on a one-year loan; the Mezquida deal is a transfer. Both can play in midfield or up top.

“Sebastian and Nicolas are exciting young attacking players with a lot of potential," Robinson said in a statement. “Both players like to play with the ball on the ground and are not afraid to attack defenders one-on-one with pace.”

The 5-foot-7, 165-pound Fernandez, 24, won the 2013 Peruvian Primera Division championship with Universitario de Deportes while on loan from Liga MX club Chiapas. The native of Montevideo made 26 appearances, including playoffs, and scored five goals. He has also played for San Luis in Mexico and Danubio and Miramar Misiones in Uruguay.

Mezquida, 22, started his career with Penarol’s youth academy and signed a first-team contract in 2008. He played in Norway on loan to SK Brann and Lillestrom SK before returning home in 2012 to play for Centro Atlético Fenix. The native of Paysandu, Uruguay, played parts of two seasons for Fenix and also went on loan to Rampala Juniors of the Uruguayan second division, for which Mezquida (5-foot-6, 150) scored seven goals in 24 appearances. At the FIFA 2009 U-17 World Cup, he played three games and scored one goal for Uruguay.

The Whitecaps arrived Tuesday in Arizona for a 10-day training stint at Grande Sports World, which is about an hour’s drive from Phoenix. Fernandez and Mezquida are the only South Americans on the roster. Vancouver lost Brazilian attacker Camilo to Mexican club Queretaro in a contentious transfer last month; the only other South American to be employed by the club in its MLS existence was Argentine defender Martin Bonjour, who played 28 games in 2012 and left the club in January 2013.

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