Major League Soccer

Vancouver Whitecaps sign Niko Giantsopoulos to short-term deal amid goalkeeper crisis

Chris Smith
The Whitecaps have suffered rotten luck in goal.
The Whitecaps have suffered rotten luck in goal. / Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports for CPL

The Vancouver Whitecaps have signed goalkeeper Niko Giantsopoulos on a short-term loan from Canadian Premier League side York United to help ease their crisis between the sticks.

Vancouver's usual first choice, Thomas Hasal, is sidelined with a finger injury and isn't expected to be fit for another couple of weeks. To make matters worse, Isaac Boehmer and Cody Cropper were both placed in MLS health and safety protocols, ruling them out of Sunday's trip to Charlotte FC.

That left the Whitecaps with no senior goalkeepers available this weekend, which meant they qualified for Major League Soccer's Extreme Hardship scheme, which exists when a team has fewer than two goalkeepers available or has less than 16 outfield players available.

Giantsopoulos is expected to arrive in North Carolina on Saturday night and will be available for Sunday's game before returning to York United, where he's kept three clean sheets in eight starts across all competitions this season.

“We are very thankful to York, especially Niko, head coach Martin Nash, and general manager Angus McNab,” Whitecaps sporting director Axel Schuster said in a club press release. “It is great to see Canadian clubs stand together and we are also grateful to our colleagues at the Canadian Premier League and Canada Soccer for their help.”

Academy goalkeeper Max Anchor has also signed an MLS NEXT Pro contract, an agreement for an MLS homegrown contract for next season. The 17-year-old has been added to the first-team roster via a short-term agreement to provide extra cover this weekend.

Anchor's deal keeps him at the club through the 2025 season with options on a further two years thereafter. The teenager will be in the squad to face Charlotte before seeing out the rest of the MLS NEXT Pro season with Whitecaps FC 2.