I want to preface this article by simply stating this; David Ousted is not the problem with the Vancouver Whitecaps. It would be damn near irresponsible to suggest this club is currently in a funk solely because our new keeper is struggling. Hell, I'm not sure if Ousted is even part of the problem, as the issues with this team run much, much deeper. That being said, it's my honest opinion that the Whitecaps should make a keeper switch, and re-insert Brad Knighton into the starting 11.
It's not something I expected to ever write, as I and many 'Caps fans believed that Ousted was going to come in, grab this team by the ear and dominate. In all honesty, that's something he hasn't been able to accomplish yet, whether it be poor positioning or questionable defending in front of him (For the record, I believe in the latter). That being said, I'm not suggesting we need to pull Ousted because he's playing badly, I'm saying we need to pull him to run some tremors through this team.
We've seen it happen plenty of times before in the Rennie era; the team is struggling, so he switches up his keepers. We saw Brad Knighton usurp Joe Cannon's starting spot, then Cannon repay the favor last year. Knighton would have the last laugh in that competition, but he was then replaced by David Ousted. With the 'Caps on a three match winless slide and marching towards the playoffs, something has to be done, and mixing up the attacking unit doesn't seem to be working. The 'Caps, minus the services of Nigel Reo-Coker, let Kekuta Manneh and Erik Hurtado onto the pitch for a while against Chivas USA. Against a porous backline, Manneh generated little to nothing, while Hurtado missed chance after chance, managing to redeem himself with a nice ball to Tommy Heinemann for the match tying goal. In terms of goal scoring and touch however, Hurtado left plenty to be desired. The problem is, those are our depth players, our quick young guns that are supposed to put us over the top. Unfortunately, they look more ready for a loan than a regular playing spot.
So, with few options to tweak this club, Rennie has to start looking at what he can do. Brad Knighton played admirably while he was in the net, while it can't be said Ousted has been playing miles ahead of him. So why not toss a hungry young keeper like Knighton back into the net? This is a guy that no doubt feels slighted, and would probably do anything to get his starting job back. We saw Knighton play lights out down the stretch last season, making save after miraculous save. If we throw the reigns back to him, I think he would gobble them up and give this team sterling performances when they need it the most.
Besides, Knighton has a good history with FC Dallas. True, the club did lose against their Texas rivals when the two teams played last September, but it was a 1-0 score, and the goal Dallas did get was clearly unstoppable. If you recall in that match, it was Knighton who stopped David Ferreira on a penalty kick to at least give his club a chance at coming back in the match. It was just one of this marvelous stops on the night (his diving tip save on Brek Shea was a thing of beauty as well). The PK save is at 1:36, by the way.
Once again, this is not a magical, 'fix-it' solution, it's merely a suggestion, and one that could pay dividends for the struggling Whitecaps.