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Who Starts for Vancouver Whitecaps When Bernie Ibini and Yordy Reyna Return

The Caps could be getting some important players back over the next month. Where do they fit into the bigger picture?

MLS: Vancouver Whitecaps vs Real Salt Lake Steve Dykes-USA TODAY Sports

Like every squad in Major League Soccer, the Vancouver Whitecaps have had to deal with injury issues. Those issues began at the end of last season, when rising start Brett Levis tore his ACL. While not a starter yet, Levis had impressed over the past season and looked to be ready to challenge Jordan Harvey and Sam Adekugbe for the Caps left back position.

Unexpected injuries continued to be a problem when, during the off-season, David Edgar was involved in a freak hit-and-run accident while on a golf trip in Arizona. The Canadian centerback was expected to anchor the Whitecaps defense in 2017. Instead, he was placed on long-term injury with a PCL and MCL tear, and will miss the entire 2017 MLS season. Luckily, Tim Parker and Kendall Waston have been solid and so that Caps have not felt the Edgar injury as strongly.

Brought in to replace Pedro Morales in the center of midfield, Yordy Reyna has yet to suit-up for Vancouver in a regular season match. Reyna excited fans in his few appearances in Portland’s annual tournament. However, in the team’s preseason finale, Reyna fractured a metatarsal in his left foot that required surgery.

Another transfer addition yet to make an appearance with the Caps is 24-year-old Bernie Ibini. Acquired at the end of the primary transfer window, Ibini was injured in his final match in the Australian A-League, where he was on loan from Belgian Pro League side Club Brugge KV.

In addition to newcomers having injury problems, several tenured Caps are also on the disabled list. Christian Dean has made his annual trip to the DL with a foot injury, while Erik Hurtado suffered a foot contusion against LA Galaxy. More recently, Nicolas Mezquida joined the unable-to-walk wounded with, you guessed it, a foot injury. Mezquida was ran into by Montreal’s Marco Donadel in the second leg of the Canadian Championship, suffering a high ankle sprain that will keep him out for six to eight weeks.

Despite the recent injury woes, the Caps could be getting some important pieces back shortly. Club reporter Farhan Devji recently informed us that Ibini was back training, and Carl Robinson noting that Reyna’s boot was off and he was going to begin training in June.

Over the last six weeks, Carl Robinson has been very consistent in his MLS lineup, and the team has been quite successful. With news that winger Bernie Ibini is getting closer to making his Caps debut and Reyna hopefully back in the fold after the Gold Cup, where do you see them fitting in to the squad? Does Reyna immediately slot in to the attacking midfield position, behind Fredy Montero, and flanked by Christian Bolanos and Cristian Techera? If Reyna is placed in the lineup quickly, who does he replace? Tony Tchani? Andrew Jacobson?

What about the more immediate arrival Ibini? Some believe he starts, but does Robbo shake up the lineup? Will Ibini be ahead of Brek Shea on the winger depth chart? How does the three-defensive midfielder setup currently employed by Robinson shape those decisions? Do we see a slight change in formation and potentially see both Jacobson and Tchani come out? If only one leaves the lineup, which do you prefer.

Let us know what your ideal/hypothesized lineup looks when those injured players return.