As we continue the march towards the 2014 regular season, the Whitecaps are still largely trying to play catch-up, thanks to a large chunk of time wasted with the Camilo drama. Still, the club has time to make moves if they want to, and there are some obvious question marks both in midfield and striker positions. However, what about the Whitecaps defenders, the backline that had to deal with so much adversity in 2013?
Well, the 'Caps appear to have shored up defensively, re-signing Captain and CB Jay DeMerit, while also nabbing RB Steven Beitashour from the Earthquakes in a steal of a trade. Then there's the reliable Andy O'Brien, who is still under contract, Carlyle Mitchell and Johnny Leveron, who both showed real promise last season, the much maligned (at least by fans) Jordan Harvey, the first round pick Christian Dean and another youngster, Sam Adekugbe, who is a favorite of most of the scribes here.
It's actually quite similar to the 2013 backline, except, in my opinion, this one could be much better. Essentially, we swap out YP Lee for Beitashour, which could either be described as a wash, or a step up. Lee clearly had lost a step last season, and while he was still a pillar of that 'Caps backline, Beitashour could be better. In any case, the Whitecaps have found a long(er?) term solution at the position, as Beitashour is just 27 years old.
The Center Back spot is an interesting one. Barring any move moves defensively, the 'Caps could go into 2014 the with the same pairing as 2013, DeMerit and O'Brien. While DeMerit looked very good in his return to the Whitecaps late last season, O'Brien fought injury and was eventually replaced by Carlyle Mitchell and Johnny Leveron. O'Brien is 34 years old now, and you have to wonder if he can be the same dependable defender that he was when he first joined the Whitecaps just a few short years ago. The club could go in a different direction and stick both Mitchell and Leveron there, as both looked quite good last season. Mitchell's ability in the air made coaches take notice, while Leveron showed a calm, simple approach to the position that DeMerit could take lessons from.
Then there's Jordan Harvey at LB, a spot that he's held since the club dealt Alain Rochat last season. He showed some upside offensively last season, and the coaching staff spoke pretty highly of him. I'd imagine they'd be more than comfortable going into 2014 with Harvey in the starting 11, even though that spot is looking pretty thin beyond him.
In short (too late), the 'Caps have good depth at CB, but more experience on the bench could be used for both RB and LB. They could definitely use more bodies on the bench, but as of right now, I'm actually pretty happy with what we've got. Now, as for that midfield....