Today was a very bad day for the Vancouver Whitecaps midfield.
First, after months of denial and standing behind him, the Whitecaps finally announced that Barry Robson would not be returning to the club. The two sides met and then agreed to terminate his pricey contract.
While his former teammates held their first training day of the season, Barry Robson was already on a flight back to the UK.
Then, after minor speculation that Vancouver might try to pick him up on the cheap, former 'Cap John Thorrington found a new home with DC United.
If the regular MLS season were to start today, the Whitecaps would currently have a midfield comprised of Gershon Koffie, Jun-Marques Davidson, and Matt Watson. I should clarify of course, that those are the only three middies on the squad that have reasonable experience in the MLS. Behind them, we have the new boys on the squad in Erik Hurtado and Kekutah Manneh, who are currently listed as M/F on the Whitecaps roster. Then, there's 18 year old Bryce Alderson and 20 year old Russell Tiebert. So, in essence, all we have now is one big fat question mark.
Unless the Whitecaps make some moves (And I fully, fully, FULLY expect them to do so), the Whitecaps greatest weakness on the pitch will be the midfield. I mean, what if Gershon Koffie gets hurt? What if he gets suspended? Then the midfield will essentially be Jun-Marques Davidson playing teacher to a bunch of youngsters.Matt Watson showed flashes of brilliance last year, but does the club really expect him to play an integral, counted upon part of the offence?
On a different point, why on Earth would you do all of this now? You had an entire off-season to wave bye bye to Robson, to bring in a body and let them get somewhat comfortable in Vancouver. It's not like this came completely out of left field either, people (including myself) have been expecting Robson to be jettisoned ever since the final whistle in Los Angeles last season. If the club plans on replacing Robson with a new roster player, then that player will still have time to gel with his teammates, just not as long as he could've.
I will get to my one positive point about this entire situation. Barry Robson did not fit into the MLS. He wasn't athletic enough, he was too hot headed. He was incredibly one dimensional (Does he even have a right foot?) and his contract was far too large for what he brought to the table. Really, if it wasn't for timing, I would call this a very good move. It's nice to see that Whitecaps management has no qualms about rectifying mistakes, and that they care about doing the best things for the club.
However, with the roster the Whitecaps currently have, I can only call this an ill-timed move. Unless the Whitecaps bring in some fresh bodies ASAP, the Whitecaps will struggle mightily this season.