Just prior to the beginning of the 2018 Major Soccer League season, we heard that Tim Parker had declined a contract extension over the offseason and had requested a trade out of Vancouver. Parker’s wish was granted and he was sent ‘home’ to New York, in exchange for Felipe Martins and plenty of Allocation money.
There were plenty of options in Vancouver to fill the void. Aaron Maund had arrived from Real Salt Lake last season, while Jose Aja was an offseason acquisition from Orlando City. Veteran Canadian David Edgar was a possibility, recovering from a knee injury that kept him out all of last season, while former Canadian TFC defender, and often injured, Doneil Henry was added to the fold in December.
Carl Robinson elected to go with Aaron Maund to begin the season, possibly because he was the only healthy option, with Jose Aja getting an opportunity in the previous two matches (Atlanta and LA). With Kendall Waston returning from international duty for Saturday’s match against Columbus, it begs the question: Who plays alongside Waston at centerback?
So far, Maund has started all four matches and has looked steady but not impressive. Aja has also looked good in his two starts, but had a few questionable moments. Unfortunately, for a centerback, one misstep can lead to you being the target of fans ire after the match; that almost happened for Aja in the previous match, despite his great performance.
To add to the options at centerback, Doneil Henry is back at full training, as of last week, so he is also a possibility. Given the three choices, I believe that Henry wins out on ability, but it may not be as big of a gap as one might assume. Moreover, Henry’s inability to remain healthy certainly complicates the issue.
It is possible that Robinson does not make a decision about whether Maund, Aja, or Henry start beside Waston. While Kendall’s quick red card against Atlanta changed the lineup, the Whitecaps did start that match with a three centerback lineup of Maund, Waston, and Aja. Could we see the same against Columbus? Does Henry slot in for one of them?
Let us know who you think is the best option at centerback right now. What do you see Robinson doing and what should be the key factor in deciding who should start.