When I reported the Whitecaps link with Pedro Morales on the last day of February, I imagined keyboards clicking all over Vancouver as fans tried to unearth some sense of who this so-called "number 10" was. The resume looked good, and the YouTube video clips were encouraging, but anyone can cram a player's best career moments into 10 grainy minutes.
So when Morales finally made his debut at BC Place on Saturday amid a thunderous welcome there was still a big unknown factor to this new designated player. With his first touch, the 28-year-old Chilean reeled in a through ball with his left foot, before swerving it into the path of Sebastien Fernandez, which eventually led to a Whitecaps corner.
From there, Morales never turned over possession. In the 77th minute, he brushed the ball forward with his chest, bought some time in a midfield pocket, and clipped a through ball for a wide open and onside Kenny Miller - and the game was over.
Simple, effortless, quality.
A minute later he pulled out some trickery to release Nic Mezquida who ultimately forced a save, and then more "oohs and ahhs" from the sellout crowd as he cleverly dummied a ball for Laba in minute 85.
Reactions from the Whitecaps Residency players were priceless. Like kids watching a birthday party magician, they squealed with delight at every touch. Among them, 17-year-old Marco Bustos; another natural No. 10 who ironically has some Chilean blood. What was going through his mind in minute 89 as Morales stroked home the 4-0 goal with one perfect connection from his right foot?
Yes, it was only 25 minutes. But Whitecaps fans left BC Place Saturday wondering what kind of magic Morales could provide when he gets a full 90.