VANCOUVER, B.C. – Reinforcements are on the way for the Vancouver Whitecaps.
This according to head coach Martin Rennie, who spoke with Vancouver radio station TEAM 1040 on Thursday and said signings were imminent for his club.
“They may have happened already, but nothing’s been announced yet,” Rennie said, before saying those signings aren’t likely going to be at the back to address the team’s center back injury issues – Jay DeMerit (Achilles rupture), Brad Rusin (calf) and Andy O’Brien (hamstring) are all out indefinitely.
“They’re out at the moment,” Rennie said. “But if we sign more center backs, we could end up with six center backs and then we’re in a tough spot there as well, so it’s not as simple as just saying, ‘OK, we’ll add a center back,’ and then what do we do once Andy’s back in a week or two, and Brad’s back in a week, maybe?”
The Scotsman then went on to explain any move he makes to bring in players is with an eye to the long-term rather than as a short-term fix – even during unexpected and bizarre injury crises such as the one the club is currently experiencing at center back.
Rennie also explained the challenges of acquiring players from other MLS teams given the rules in place.
“What we’re really focused on is signing players that can help us in the medium and long term,” Rennie said. “Signing the right players is – I think – a very difficult thing to do in Major League Soccer. Because any domestic player you like is not available. Any player that is already in the league is almost impossible to get.
“They basically don’t come out of contract, and when they do, they go through a waiver system which makes it very difficult for you to just decide you want to take them … almost any player that’s in Major League Soccer is almost impossible to get, or you get them at an absolute premium.”
While Rennie didn’t get into the details on who exactly is set to sign, there was one new face at training on Thursday at the University of British Columbia.
Lee Young-Jae, a 22 year old South Korean striker who shares an agent with Lee Young-Pyo, is in Vancouver on trial after last playing with French side FC Nantes – where he scored three goals in 39 league games.
Rennie said he’s been watching the player for half a year, and was made aware of the forward through a different connection rather than Lee Young-Pyo.
"He’s got good technique, he’s got good pace, he’s got good size," Rennie said of the 6-footer. "He’s played at a high level, and he speaks a bit of English, which is good as well, but we’re just giving him a chance … now’s a chance for us to analyze how he does.”
Martin MacMahon covers the Vancouver Whitecaps for MLSsoccer.com.