Heading into last season, it appeared the Vancouver Whitecaps were set to move forward with Brad Knighton as their starting Goal Keeper, as he had been 'the guy' for the final few weeks of 2012, as well as the club's lone playoff match. At the start of 2013, he was on the bench, while the veteran Joe Cannon was given the early run of games. Neither were able to gain the confidence of the Whitecaps head brass moving forward, forcing them to bring in another keeper, David Ousted.
Here's the thing; the club gave up a fan favourite for Ousted in the form of Alain Rochat, who was shipped off to DC United to help clear the way for the Dane's arrival. Since Ousted has been a Whitecap, he hasn't really done anything of note. A few good performances, a couple of clean sheets to his resume, but he hasn't stolen the show, and to this point, he hasn't truly stolen any matches for the Whitecaps. It's not like he's been awful, he's just been.. there. Meanwhile, the club still hasn't found a suitable replacement for Rochat at LB, though Jordan Harvey has shown some offensive instincts from the position.
However, that was Ousted's first go around in MLS. He joined the club midway through the season, so he didn't have a lot of time to acclimatize himself to his surroundings. Remember Kenny Miller? As a fanbase, we were all ready to carry him to Vancouver International Airport and never hear from him again; given some time to adjust, he proved that he still has a sweet scoring touch and plenty of gas left in the tank.
Redemption is possible.
So, we turn our attention back to Ousted, who enters 2014 as the undisputed number one. Barring a roster move, Ousted has little competition in camp, and that should help with his confidence. He won't be looking over his shoulder at every turn, and should be able to focus solely on stopping the ball. Hopefully he's taken some time to adjust to his new city, both on the pitch and off, and again, hopefully, he's raring to go for 2014. If he can live up to expectation, both from the fans and the front office, he could be a major piece of this puzzle.
There's a lot to like about Ousted; he's got the size. He's a strong presence on the pitch for the team, barking out orders like a general, and his distribution is better than what both Knighton and Cannon brought to the table. At age 29, he's someone that could be here for a while, but only if he can pick his game up to where it needs to be.
I guess the one problem I have is, I'm not sure what Ousted's ceiling is. Truth be told, I don't watch a lot of Randers football, and couldn't tell you how good he was for the Danish side. So who knows; maybe the best David Ousted has to offer has already been showcased. Here's hoping, at least for the sake of the Whitecaps, that isn't true.