Vancouver Whitecaps will loan Charleston Battery winger/striker Omar Salgado — one of the gems in the team’s showcase of young attacking talent — the club announced Friday afternoon.
The 20-year-old, 6-4 Salgado was considered a rare young prospect when he entered the MLS Superdraft in 2011, and Whitecaps passed over a number of more finished college players to select the gifted but raw teenager. The El Paso, Texas, native scored in his MLS debut, but a foot injury sidelined him after 14 appearances
It wound up being the first of several recurring injuries that have held up his development so far. Salgado appeared in just seven matches in 2012, and sat out the entire 2013 season to give his foot a chance to recover. But after a promising 2014 preseason, Salgado appeared to be on his way toward a spot on Vancouver’s first-team roster.
“Omar is a young player with a lot of potential and this loan is a natural step following two seasons with limited playing time,” said Whitecaps FC head coach Carl Robinson. “Our partnership with the Battery provides the opportunity for Omar to earn first team minutes, with a number of his peers, during this stretch of our MLS season.”
Charleston Battery Club President Andrew Bell said Salgado is expected to arrive in Charleston tonight, and that he hopes the new Battery man will be available for selection on Saturday when the Battery open their season against the USL PRO Champion Orlando City Lions (7:30 p.m. at Blackbaud Stadium, tickets still available).
Salgado is the eighth player from Vancouver to join the Battery this preseason, and while the 2014 Whitecaps loan class covers a numbers of positions, it has revolutionized the Battery’s attacking depth chart. Charleston came out the Carolina Challenge Cup with a group of forwards and wingers comprised of Dane Kelly, Heviel Cordoves and Austin Savage at forward, with Maikel Chang, Zach Prince and rookie Dante Marini on the wings. In the three weeks since then, Vancouver has sent the club forwards Marlon Ramirez, Mamadou Diouf and Salgado, while adding wingers Adam Mena and Andre Lewis, who can play central attacking midfielder as well.
In limited playing time, Diouf and Mena led the Battery in preseason scoring with four goals apiece.
Salgado has often been viewed as a center forward because of his height, but Vancouver considers him to a primarily a winger player.
Other Vancouver players on the roster include defender Jackson Farmer and midfielders Aminu Abdallah and Michael Kafari.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.
TOP IMAGE: Omar Salgado goes against San Jose in the 2014 preaseason. Vancouver Whitecaps photo.