The transfer window has closed, the Whitecaps understandably stood pat, and now the club has, what appears to be, their roster set for the remainder of the season. We all bemoaned Whitecaps' management last season when they tinkered with the lineup like a curious inventor, but this time, the Whitecaps front brass are ready to dance with the partner that brought them to the prom. In other words, this is the group the club will live and die by, at least for the next few months.
While the 'Caps may still add some depth to their back line, they actually did the smart thing and simply waited for the cavalry to arrive. Instead of wheeling and dealing, they simply waited until Andy O'Brien could squeeze on a kit again, then decided to play 'best case scenario' with Jay Demerit and his troublesome Achilles tendon. While it was a rough few weeks without the big man in the lineup, Brad Rusin, Johnny Leveron and Carlyle Mitchell performed, in some cases excellently, and the Whitecaps now sit 2nd in the Western Conference. It should serve as a reminder to the Whitecaps that sometimes the best move is the one you never make.
With depth returning, the Whitecaps can still play around with their lineup a bit, but they can do it with guys that have been around the team for the majority of the season, guys that have already integrated themselves in the locker room and have built relationships with their teammates. It's much better to compete for playing time with a guy like that, as opposed to a newbie being flown in today.
Speaking of that lineup, if the Whitecaps want to get the most out of their lineup as possible, they should look at shuffling up the midfield a bit. I think we all loved Gerson Koffie in the holding mid role, as he seemed to me to be a clear upgrade over the benched Jun-Marques Davidson. Nigel Reo-Coker can play wherever the hell he feels like because you know he's going to be good no matter what, but as my colleague Rob Scott pointed out yesterday, that Daigo Kobayashi fella might not be running in the starting 11 for much longer. I'm a big Matt Watson fan and believe that he has untapped potential that could truly benefit this club. We saw the game he brought against the Galaxy in the play-offs last year; if he can bring that level of compete again, he would be a substantial upgrade over Kobayashi.
It's the one area in the Whitecaps roster that has a question mark above it. Think about it; no one is going to touch the attacking unit of Russell Teibert, Camilo and Kenny Miller, and the only time the back line will change is when Jay Demerit limps his way back from injury. That just leaves midfield, where Kobayashi has been a question mark since, well, pretty much the entire season.
In any case, the Whitecaps should be happy to have a strong core roster moving forward, especially with some of their best players on the mend. Hey, if this is what the Whitecaps could accomplish with Jay Demerit and Andy O'Brien out, I'm starting to think we can handle anything.