Thorrington's quiet return a boost for retooling Whitecaps

John Thorrington and the Whitecaps return to Arizona this weekend.

Photo Credit: 
Courtesy of WhitecapsFC.com

VANCOUVER, B.C. — With Sunday’s emphatic 4-2 victory over the Chicago Fire, the return of Jay Nolly as starting goalkeeper and the naming of a new head coach, the return of Vancouver Whitecaps midfielder John Thorrington from injury has, to a certain extent, slipped under the radar.

Having played only 53 minutes in Major League Soccer for the ‘Caps this season due to a series of quadriceps and calf injuries, Thorrington nearly doubled that minutes total by playing the first half against the Fire.

The veteran came off at halftime and was replaced by Davide Chiumiento, but that was a scheduled move to manage his return from injury by limiting his playing time.

“It was great to get John back in,” interim head coach Tom Soehn said. “He’s an emotional leader who has a lot of experience in MLS. Any time you get someone like that back he makes guys around him better, so we’ll continue to push his minutes. We were pretty calculated with how much we wanted to give him [on Sunday] so we don’t risk anything.”

The South African-born American’s experience has been missed this season, and his poise and reading of the game was evident in the first half of Saturday’s match, when the Whitecaps went into the break with a 2-1 lead.

“It’s great, it’s a boost,” Thorrington said of the win on the weekend. “But we know it’s just one step and one win, and if we don’t build on it, it means nothing. It does what you’d expect for morale and gives us a boost and a reward for a hard week we put in, but we need to build on it, keep our feet on the ground and not get carried away. If we continue to perform like that, the results will come.”

Now Thorrington and the Whitecaps turn their attention toward Saturday, when they face D.C. United at RFK Stadium. Canadian international Dwayne De Rosario is the hottest player in the league right now, having scored six goals in six matches since arriving in Washington from the New York Red Bulls, including a hat trick during a 3-3 draw against Toronto FC on Saturday.

“He’s obviously dangerous, he can play in a number of positions,” Thorrington said of De Rosario. “He can play up top, attacking midfield — he’s just a threat when he gets in around goal, so we’ll need to be aware of where he is at all times. It’s not a secret — he’s been doing it for years. We’ll have a game plan to shut him down, but they’ve got other weapons as well. We’ll try to impose ourselves on the game rather than worry too much about them.”

Martin MacMahon covers the Vancouver Whitecaps for MLSsoccer.com. Follow him on Twitter: @martinmacmahon