Koffie suspension forces 'Caps to shuffle midfield again

Gershon Koffie

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VANCOUVER, B.C. – Another game, and another suspension.

For the second consecutive match, the Vancouver Whitecaps will be without a key player – this time Gershon Koffie – after the MLS Disciplinary Committee slapped the Ghanaian with a one-game ban for making a flying tackle on Seattle Sounders midfielder Andy Rose and making an inappropriate gesture in the aftermath.

“I’m surprised by a lot of things since I’ve been in the league and I suppose that one was a little bit surprising,” head coach Martin Rennie told reporters after a training session at BC Place on Thursday. “But when you see it again on the replay in slow motion from a different angle you can see why that decision was made. For that side of it we always just accept what the league has decided and move forward.”

The incident follows Barry Robson’s ban for kicking a ball in the direction of an assistant referee during Vancouver’s 2-0 loss to FC Dallas  on Aug. 15. Now the ‘Caps must once again make an enforced change in midfield for their match against the Portland Timbers on Saturday (10:30 pm ET, watch LIVE online).

That likely means John Thorrington will slot in to replace Koffie in a direct swap in the center of the park, and the veteran is eager to help his team avoid losing three consecutive matches.

“Everybody’s coming off a disappointing two results,” Thorrington said of the back-to-back 2-0 defeats suffered by the club against FC Dallas and the Seattle Sounders. “I think what you see is that extra bit of edge and focus going into our next game and everybody putting everything into it wanting to get us back to winning ways.”

While the club will have to make that adjustment in midfield, changes are also expected at the back. Captain Jay DeMerit is fit to play if required after suffering a concussion in the club’s 2-1 win over Real Salt Lake on August 11, and Martin Bonjour is back after serving a one-game suspension for yellow card accumulation.

“He seems to be good,” Rennie said of DeMerit’s progress. “He seems to be not having any adverse effects from the knock that he got before, so all being well, he’ll be available for selection which would be a huge boost for us.”

Martin MacMahon covers the Vancouver Whitecaps for MLSsoccer.com.