Toronto FC pick up Whitecaps defender Gutierrez off waivers

A former Vancouver Whitecaps defender has found a new home with Toronto FC.

The 'Caps announced Tuesday they had placed Cristian Gutierrez on waivers and he was picked up by Toronto.

Gutierrez, 26, spent three seasons with Vancouver, playing wingback in 42 Major League Soccer games and registering six assists.

Born in Greenfield Park, Que., he moved to Colombia when he was three and played five seasons in the Chilean Primera Division before joining the Whitecaps in 2020.

Gutierrez played for Chile's U-20 team and was called up to the Canadian men's national team 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 sometime 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.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 14, 2023.

The Canadian Press