Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports
Several key players from 2012 have had to sit early on this season.
It's a difficult decision for the coach of any team with depth. Sometimes, veteran players, reliable guys are forced to sit on the bench simply because there is too much talent on the squad, and too many players need minutes. That's been the case for Martin Rennie and the Vancouver Whitecaps, as several key 2012 fixtures have found themselves with little or no playing time.
How about Brad Knighton? Yes, I've posted a few articles on the current backup keeper on the 'Caps. He was the go to guy for the latter part of the 2012 season, providing solid goalkeeping while he was in the net, and playing wonderfully in the 'Caps playoff loss to the Galaxy. However, Knighton was not alone in the net, and Martin Rennie has since decided to go with the veteran Joe Cannon for the first two matches. Cannon has played admirably, definitely deserving to keep his place as the season moves forward, but it must come as a shock for the former RailHawk. A few short months ago, he was the number one; now, he's on the bench.
He's not alone though. How about Jordan Harvey? Harvey hasn't exactly had a smooth ride during his time in Vancouver, but the defender did manage to get significant playing time in 2012 when Alain Rochat was moved to mid. He was solid, not spectacular, but managed to do enough right things to keep his spot. Now he finds himself watching from the outside in, waiting for his opportunity to get some semblance of playing time. Harvey probably won't be used much at all this year, unless (knock on wood) a slew of injuries befalls the squad.
Of course, then there's Camilo. Yes, the young Brazilian came on like gangbusters in his first season with the 'Caps, scoring 12 goals on a bad team. The club thought they had their superstar; he was lauded as a more consistent scoring option to Eric Hassli. The next season, injuries and a deeper roster saw a dramatic drop off in his production, though he still at times showcased flashes of his brilliance. Many (including myself) saw 2013 as his chance to redeem himself, to prove that he is still a superstar in the making. That didn't last very long, as Camilo has yet to start a match so far this season. It's not like you can fault Martin Rennie either, the club is simply too deep to toss Camilo a spot because of his past accomplishments.
Darren Mattocks needs minutes, Kenny Miller has been playing like his life depends on it, and the midfield is crowded with names like Koffie, Kobayashi and Reo-Coker. Then there is the youth movement in Kekutah Manneh and Erik Hurtado needing their playing time as well. Camilo has since been a second half option for Martin Rennie, much like Hassli in his second season. Rennie likes to 'change the match' by using talented substitutes in the second half, but we all know how that ended up for Hassli.
Once again, I am in no way suggesting Rennie is doing the wrong thing by not playing key members of the 2012 squad. In fact, I applaud him for having the guts to put out his best 11 every match, despite having so many egos to manage. Too much depth up front is never a bad thing, as long as everyone remains happy.