Whitecaps pick up contract options on 11 players

Vancouver Whitecaps goalkeeper Paolo Tornaghi. (Darryl Dyck/CP)

VANCOUVER — A day after cutting their captain loose, the Vancouver Whitecaps announced they have picked up the contract options of 11 players.

The moves involving goalkeeper Paolo Tornaghi, defenders Christian Dean, Jordan Harvey, Tim Parker, and Cole Seiler, midfielders Marco Bustos, Kianz Froese, Ben McKendry, Nicolas Mezquida, and Russell Teibert, as well as winger/striker Kekuta Manneh, were announced Thursday.

The Whitecaps have also signed striker Erik Hurtado to a contract extension through 2018, with options for 2019 and 2020.

Vancouver posted an ugly 10-15-9 record in 2016, missing the playoffs a year after finishing second in Major League Soccer’s Western Conference.

"We have built a strong core and are pleased with where we are at in the process of building our roster for next season," Whitecaps head coach Carl Robinson said in a statement. "In addition to our players under contract, we continue to actively look for additional key difference makers."

Vancouver declined the contract option of captain and midfielder Pedro Morales on Wednesday after three seasons.

In other roster moves, the Whitecaps said the options on ‘keeper Marco Carducci, as well as those of defenders Fraser Aird and Jordan Smith, will not be picked up.

Aird and Smith were on loan to Vancouver in 2016. Aird will return to Scottish giants Rangers, with Smith heading back to Costa Rican side Deportivo Saprissa.

Meanwhile, veteran striker Blas Perez does not currently have a contract for next season. As per MLS policy, the 35-year-old will be eligible for the league’s re-entry process unless he opts out or signs a new deal.

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