MLS Soccer: Eric Hassli
Eric Hassli has been in the MLS for just over a year, but has become known for the spectacular strike and has also helped shine the spotlight on the young Vancouver Whitecaps franchise.
Hassli was a bit of a vagabond in his European years. He started out in France with hometown minor side Sarreguemines, before moving on to Metz of the French league, a team which has bounced back and forth between the first and second divisions for several years.
However, in 38 official appearances, he managed just 3 goals.
Hassli departed Metz and went on to play for six different teams in three countries, England, France again, and most successfully in Switzerland.
Hassli served with four different Swiss outfits, finding his best form with FC St. Gallen where he managed 18 goals in 47 appearances, and at Zurich where he produced 35 goals in 108 various matches.
From European journeyman to MLS star
However, Hassli never quite fit in with any of his teams, and looked to start a new footballing life in North America. The Vancouver Whitecaps came calling, and the new start in an up and coming league appears to have energized the oft-times moody Frenchman.
Hassli has scored 12 times in 36 league appearances over a season and a half, while also scoring twice in cup play during the 2012 season in the Amway Canadian Championships.
More importantly, the burly forward has made himself into the central focus of the Vancouver attack with his ability to occupy space and bring his colleagues into play.
Style of play
Hassli is a tall, muscular player who loves to hold up the ball and distribute to teammates. Despite his size, he also has a fine first touch and is capable of breathtaking skill at times, most notably with his dipping volley from the edge of the 18 yard box back across his body and into the top corner against rivals Seattle Sounders.
He has also proven to be an excellent foil for French teammate Sebastien Le Toux, a new addition this year.
The two complement each other’s skills and have helped turn around the Whitecaps’ fortunes already, with perhaps some glory to come.