Vancouver Whitecaps midfielder Nigel Reo-Coker set to return to lineup Saturday vs. LA Galaxy
VANCOUVER, B.C. – With Vancouver Whitecaps midfielder Matías Laba suspended for Saturday's clash at the LA Galaxy (10:30 pm ET, TSN in Canada, MLS Live in US) after picking up two yellow cards over the weekend, Nigel Reo-Coker looks set for a return to the starting lineup.
Still sporting a noticeable scar after tripping over a bike rack and hitting his head two weeks ago, the Englishman said following Wednesday's training session at the University of British Columbia that he is fully over the concussion he suffered during the fall.
“I'm not bothered,” Reo-Coker said with a laugh when asked if he was self-conscious about the scar and if it would be a more permanent look. “It's a funny story. It's life and these things happen. It's probably one of the craziest football stories now but it happened and that's it.
“It doesn't really bother me.”
Another thing Reo-Coker doesn't seem too bothered about is where he lines up this weekend against the Galaxy.
With Vancouver opting for a diamond 4-4-2 the last couple of matches, the player could slot into either the holding role as the deepest lying midfielder, or play on the right side of the diamond – both roles he played at times under former Vancouver head coach Martin Rennie.
“Honestly, I don't have a preference,” Reo-Coker said about the two roles. “I'm comfortable in either position. I played the holding role a few times last year, and I played the right-hand side of the diamond last year a few times. They're positions that I'm comfortable in. The football knowledge I've gathered through the years has helped me be able to play in both positions.
“At the moment, we don't know what the team is going to be yet. The manager [Carl Robinson] still has got to make some decisions.”
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As for his last two weeks watching from the press box, the 29-year-old claims it was a chance to step back and observe the match from a different vantage point, and he's not viewing his absence as time wasted.
“It's very hard,” Reo-Coker said of watching from above. “But sometimes it's good for a player. You can sit back and analyze the team and look at certain aspects, and see where you would fit in and what you think of the team's performance.”
Martin MacMahon covers the Vancouver Whitecaps for MLSsoccer.com.