Despite more changes, Vancouver Whitecaps backline stays steady against Seattle Sounders
VANCOUVER, B.C. - The Vancouver Whitecaps' 1-0 win over Seattle on Saturday saw them return to their attacking form after two scoreless games, but one stat lost in the mix is the Whitecaps’ second shutout in the past three games despite a changing backline
Spearheading that has been the central defensive pairing of Honduran Johnny Leveron and Trinidad and Tobago international Carlyle Mitchell. With regular starters Jay DeMerit (ankle) and Andy O'Brien (hip) out due to injury, the pair put in a solid display against Seattle after struggling against Colorado the week before.
"I thought they were fabulous," head coach Carl Robinson's said following Saturday's win. "It's not easy. We're missing Andy and Jay and they've been great for us during this early run of the season, so they've come in.
"I knew they'd cope physically but I wanted the concentration levels to be there because I don't think they were there against Colorado. We let ourselves down as a group. I maybe let them down by maybe not setting them up right."
Although not the first choice pairing at the position, Leveron and Mitchell gained a crucial understanding and experience when they played a large chunk of last season together during a center back injury crisis for the Whitecaps that saw every player at that position injured at some point.
"Johnny and Carlyle played 13 or 14 games together [last year] and they were excellent, so I had no concerns about the partnership," Robinson said.
"They like each other off the field as well as on the field. Maybe communication is a little not what it should be, because Johnny's obviously learning English, Carlyle is Trinidadian and he doesn't speak too much. It's important you have the full backs then."
The experience of those full backs, Steven Beitashour and Jordan Harvey, will be key for the Whitecaps right now, and the same with goalkeeper David Ousted. The Danish stopper is used to seeing a changing back four in front of him and admits that although it can cause issues, Vancouver just have to deal with it and will benefit from it.
"We talked about it at the start of the season that we like consistency down there and that's what we're trying to do," Ousted told MLSsoccer.com. "When someone new comes in you always have to figure out what kind of player he is and what he does in certain situations.
"But that said, the guys that have come in have done good, so it's not going to be an excuse. We can manage some changes and we need to make some changes because there's a lot of games.”