The centre back position for the Vancouver Whitecaps has been a point of discussion throughout the Whitecaps tenure in MLS. At the beginning of this season many fans were upset that Andy O’Brien was not resigned (while Jorge and I were upset about Leveron’s departure). The Whitecaps replaced O’Brien with Pa Modou Kah, a decision met with scepticism. This decision was offset, slightly, by the Whitecaps bringing in Deigo Rodriguez.
The Whitecaps began the season with a pairing of Waston and Kah in the centre of their defense. While feared by opposing strikers, this partnership certainly had its problems; especially Kah. After a series of shaky outings by Kah, newcomer Deigo Rodriguez was given a start in Orlando. He performed well, but a foolish play resulted in a two-game suspension, and a return to a Waston/Kah partnership. After serving his suspension Rodriguez was only able to play a handful of minutes before suffering a thigh injury.
Frustration from Whitecaps fans and, undoubtedly, Carl Robinson, coupled with the excellent play of rookie Tim Parker with the ThunderCaps, resulted in Parker making his (short) debut in Portland. He followed that up with his first MLS start, in place of injured right-back Steven Beitashour, and then two Canadian Championship starts at centre back.
With news that Deigo Rodriguez will be seeing the field for the first time in six weeks, this weekend for the ThunderCaps. It is clear Waston will, and should, play as many games as possible, however, the Whitecaps suddenly have multiple options for their starting centre back partnership. Although not stated outright, Robbo has made several comments to suggest that Kah is not his regular first choice to partner Waston. For many fans, the preferred choice is Rodriguez. With Parker’s strong play and leadership skills, we should expect to see more of him alongside Waston, or as cover for Beitashour.
One name that has been omitted from this write-up, and many discussions, has been last year’s #3 SuperDraft selection Christian Dean. Despite being a part of the U-20 & U-23 US national teams, Dean has yet to appear this season for the Whitecaps and only played in 4 MLS games last season (1 start and 123 minutes total). Whitecaps fans have been eager to see what they have in Dean, with his strong pedigree and continuous call-ups by the national team. Well, at least this author has been eager. Dean has performed well for the ThunderCaps and in Edmonton for the Canadian Championship (at right back). However, he was less impressive the previous week against Edmonton (at BC Place), playing in his traditional centre back position. In fact, he was outplayed by his partner Tim Parker.
The Whitecaps have a busy summer ahead with many games scheduled for July and, especially August, and will need to have depth at all positions to account for injuries and form. However, over the next few games, expect to see the pairing at centre back become clearer and the depth chart ironed out.
With the options at centre back, shortly, for the Whitecaps, what do you see as the depth chart for the Whitecaps and what pairing would you prefer for the various matches?
What are your thoughts on Dean, Parker, and Rodriguez?
With Rodriguez on his way back, and Parker and Dean getting a run out at the Canadian Championship, the Whitecaps suddenly have multiple options for Waston's partner. Who is your preferred option?