After a wave of discontent washed over the Whitecaps following their loss to the Philadelphia Union, it was very easy for us scribes to gloss over the positives. After all, Brad Rusin was injured, Gershon Koffie received a bogus yellow card that has left him suspended for a match, and Jun-Marques Davidson was red carded and is also suspended. Then there was the earlier news that struggling striker Darren Mattocks would require minor knee surgery, and he would be sidelined for the next four weeks. Toss in our two starting center backs, Jay DeMerit and Andy O'Brien, who haven't played together since DeMerit went down in the first match of the season, and you can see why many followers of the club were feeling blue.
However, we can all (slightly) rejoice now, as some walking wounded have been making progress. First let's talk Jay DeMerit, who was the subject of a quick Mark Dailey article this week. The Whitecaps Superman (or is it man of steel now?) has been rehabbing well, and may actually play in a reserves match this week. Whether it's true or not, it is an indication that the medical staff obviously believe DeMerit is nearing 100% in terms of fitness. That's great news for the 'Caps, who's depth on the backline seems to dwindle with every match.
I would include Andy O'Brien in this update, but honestly, that dude has been 'ready to go next week' for the past month now. Obviously, the club feels comfortable with Johnny Leveron and Brad Rusin and don't need to rush O'Brien, but it would be nice to see him back on the pitch sooner than later. Reuniting the pairing of O'Brien and DeMerit could be lethal against opponents, but we're probably a few weeks away from realizing that.
Brad Rusin was shaken up in the Union match, and actually had to leave, replaced by Carlyle Mitchell. Well, the towering center back greeted the media with good news this week, saying the injury was minor, he was dealing with it, and he should be good to go this weekend against the Timbers. That means the 'Caps won't have to rely on the young Carlyle Mitchell, who isn't terrible, but is a clear step down from Rusin.
Finally, there's Kenny Miller, who has essentially been on the mend for half the season. Miller was again shaken up against the Union and was forced to leave the match, replaced by Kekuta Manneh. That was a tough pill to swallow considering how effective Miller has been this season, and it looks like he won't play on Saturday. The only good news is that Miller's injury doesn't look to be horrible, and a week's rest should be plenty to get him back on the pitch. However, that's what we've been saying about Andy O'Brien for what seems like forever.
So, while the Whitecaps will be missing a few regulars, it looks like the bench won't be as thin when they march on Portland.