Toronto FC added some depth at fullback on Tuesday by acquiring Cristian Gutierrez on waivers from the Vancouver Whitecaps.
The 26-year-old spent three seasons with Vancouver, with six assists in 42 MLS games – mainly as a wingback.
Toronto signed Raoul Petretta in the off-season to fill the void at left fullback left by the departure of fellow Italian Domenico Cristico. The 25-year-old Petretta has started all three of Toronto’s games this season but limped off the field in the 73rd minute of last Saturday’s 1-1 tie with visiting Columbus.
Petretta was back in training Tuesday.
Canadian international Richie Laryea starts at right fullback for TFC.
Born in Greenfield Park, Que., Gutierrez moved to Chile when he was three. He came up through the youth ranks at Colo-Colo, eventually making his professional debut with the club in 2015.
He played five seasons in the Chilean Primera Division, including loan stints with Union Espanola in 2017, and Huachipato in 2017-18. Over that span, he played in 52 league matches before joining the Whitecaps in 2020.
Gutierrez played for Chile’s under-20 team before being called up by the Canadian men’s national squad in January, 2021.
Whitecaps head coach Vanni Sartini said Tuesday that the young defender has struggled over the past year, both with injuries and his attitude.
“Last year he was, I would say, angry at certain points because he wasn’t playing. He was reacting not in the right way,” Sartini said on a video call. “I thought at some point some time in the last year that he didn’t have the will to stay.”
Gutierrez finished out the 2022 campaign with Vancouver’s MLS NextPro side, WFC 2.
Sartini said the ‘Caps opted to place Gutierrez on waivers because he didn’t see a lot of chances for the defender to play this season.
Toronto (0-1-2) hosts Inter Miami (2-1-0) on Saturday.