Changing places: Vancouver Whitecaps' Nigel Reo-Coker set to move to defense vs. DC United

The Vancouver Whitecaps may have won two matches on the hop, but will likely make at least two unforced changes for this weekend’s match against league-worst D.C. United (7 pm ET, watch on MLS Live).

Lee Young-Pyo is set for a weekend off to rest, and in his right fullback position, expect to see midfielder Nigel Reo-Coker fill the void.

Lee hasn’t participated in training this week, indicating the 36-year-old is set for a rest week – the former South Korean international only agreed to come back for this season if he could have the option of missing a few long Eastern road trips.

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Reo-Coker, while naturally a central midfielder, has played once for Vancouver in the position – the scoreless first leg of the Canadian Championship final against the Montreal Impact. In that match, the Englishman looked comfortable in a battling defensive display.

Additionally, the 29-year-old played there on an emergency basis during his time in the English Premier League.

“I think you will see me in a different position this week,” Reo-Coker told reporters on Wednesday. “I’m up for the challenge. It’s good. It’s nice. Hopefully I can add a little bit more security to the back four.”

Given Lee is being rested, pushing Reo-Coker back makes sense given the central defensive pairing of Johnny Leverón and Carlyle Mitchell have just 13 MLS matches between them.

“They’re both very young guys, still learning the game,” Reo-Coker said. “We’ve got to make sure we’re solid. Defensively, we’re still conceding goals. We need to tighten up defensively and we know that.”

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In Vancouver’s last two wins, Reo-Coker has played as a holding midfielder, but his shift back to a defensive role for this weekend’s match means someone else should slot in.

The spot will go to one of Jun Marques Davidson, who was dropped from the holding role for the team’s last two wins, or Brad Rusin, who looks set to make a return from a calf problem suffered over a month ago.

“Today I was holding midfield,” Rusin said after Wednesday’s practice. “But ultimately just anywhere I can to help the team out. It’s [head coach Martin Rennie’s] decision.”

Martin MacMahon covers the Vancouver Whitecaps for MLSsoccer.com.