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Whitecaps ink Wagner and Tan

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Blake Wagner
Long Tan’s days as a trialist are over. Blake Wagner has made the return to MLS from Division-2.

Both players signed with the Vancouver Whitecaps Friday after impressing the brass with their preseason performances.

Wagner’s move isn’t a surprise. The American defender/midfielder spent 2010 with the Whitecaps, playing Division-2 soccer. Before coming to Vancouver, Wagner made 40 appearances with FC Dallas. He had a solid run in the Cascadia Cup; it was his shot that caused havoc in the Portland Timbers back line that led to the own goal in a 1-1 draw last week.

Getting Tan, who will be the first Chinese player to play in MLS, culminates a long process for the Whitecaps. The team traded for his rights last season, sending Ricardo Sanchez and Jonathan Steele to FC Tampa Bay of the NASL. Tan appeared at camp this season as a trialist — and while the goals weren’t exactly rocketing off his feet (which has been the case for most of the strikers at Whitecaps camp so far), his ability on the ball was encouraging.

“Long Tan is a different type of striker,” Whitecaps coach Teitur Thordarson said in a release. “He is difficult to handle because he works very hard and he is technically sound. Blake has played in MLS. He is technically very good and tactically getting better.”

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