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Whitecaps trade Nigel Reo-Coker to Chivas U.S.A. for Mauro Rosales

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VANCOUVER - Nigel Reo-Coker is leaving the only Major League Soccer club that he has ever known.

The Whitecaps confirmed in a news release Thursday that they have traded Reo-Coker, a 30-year-old former English Premier League star who was in his second season with the team, to Chivas U.S.A. for fellow midfielder Mauro Rosales.

The announcement came after Robinson said following a practice that the Whitecaps might move Reo-Coker.

"We are excited to welcome (Rosales) to our club and Vancouver," said Whitecaps coach Carl Robinson in the news release. "If you look at Mauro's history, he's constantly creating goals. He's experienced, bright, and has a super football brain. His delivery on crosses is fantastic, and I know he's a good guy. That's important in this locker-room.

"We're very pleased to add a player of Mauro's calibre as we make our push for the playoffs."

Rosales will train with the Caps on Friday in Carson, Calif., in preparation for a game against the Los Angeles Galaxy on Saturday, when he will be eligible for selection. He did not have to travel to join his new team, because Chivas also plays out of Carson, a Los Angeles suburb.

This marks the second consecutive weekend that the Whitecaps play in Carson after they visited Chivas in their previous game.

Rosales, a 33-year-old Villa Maria, Argentina native, has recorded the second-most assists (42) in MLS since 2011. He has started 16 of his 21 appearances for Chivas this season, posting eight assists — good for third place in the league this season.

From 2011 to 2013, he played three seasons with the Seattle Sounders, scoring 12 goals and recording 34 assists in 86 regular-season matches. He was named MLS Newcomer of the Year in 2011.

Prior to moving to North America, Rosales played for Argentina powerhouses Club Atletico River Plate (2007-10) and Newell's Old Boys (1999-2004), as well as top-flight Dutch side AFC Ajax (2004-07). Internationally, Rosales was a part of Argentina's U-20 national team that won the 2001 FIFA World Youth Championship and the U-23 side that won a gold medal at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens.

Reo-Coker has played sparingly this season, his second in MLS, following a freak off-field injury and inconsistency that saw him lose his spot in the starting 11. After beginning the season as a starter, he was sidelined with a concussion suffered when he reportedly walked into a bicycle rack.

Primarily a midfielder, he has most recently been spotted in midfield and at right back, filling in for defender Steven Beitashour while he was away representing Iran at the World Cup. But Reo-Coker has played only one official minute in the last five games.

In addition to offensively-gifted designated player Pedro Morales, Robinson has preferred to deploy Matias Laba, the team's other designated player, and Gershon Koffie most of the time in midfield, along with Sebastian Fernandez, Russell Teibert and recently, Mehdi Ballouchy.

Reo-Coker, a London native who had spent his entire career previously in England, joined the Whitecaps amidst considerable fanfare in February 2013 after Vancouver sent a pair of draft picks to the Portland Timbers in exchange for the right of first refusal to sign him. Reo-Coker has played 12 games this season, starting eight, and recorded a goal and two assists.

His minutes were way down this season from 2013, when he played in 32 of the club's 34 regular-season games, starting 31.

He has appeared in more than 200 EPL matches and last played for English Championship side Ipswich Town on a three-month stint.

During four seasons at Aston Villa from 2007 to 2011, he made 102 appearances and scored two goals. He also helped West Ham United reach the 2006 FA Cup final against Liverpool only to lose on penalty kicks.

After starting as a 12-year-old in Wimbledon's system, he toiled for England's under-21 national team, serving as captain during the 2007 UEFA U-21 Championship. He has also played for England's under-20 squad and served as a standby player for its 2006 World Cup side.

He has captained EPL squads West Ham United FC, Aston Villa, and Bolton Wanderers and also worn the arm band for Wimbledon.

According to the MLS Players Union, Reo-Coker is earning $446,500 this season. His departure from Vancouver has been expected for weeks as his role diminished.

The Whitecaps have struggled to score goals while utilizing young players in offensive roles since former Scottish international Kenny Miller left the club by mutual consent in the spring. Observers have opined that Reo-Coker's departure could free up salary room for an experienced scorer.

The acquisition of Rosales, who is earning $450,000 this season, came after the Whitecaps elected not to sign a proven veteran scorer during the international transfer window that closed earlier this month.

"I've known (Reo-Coker) for a number of years and consider him a friend," said Robinson in the news release. "We are thankful to (him) for everything he's done for the club. He's been a pleasure to work with and I have a lot of respect for him."

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