As the Vancouver Whitecaps attempt to claw themselves out of a downward spiral that has seen the side win just one out of its last eight games, experimentation may not be the antidote of choice.
That means the Whitecaps' opponents Saturday, the San Jose Earthquakes (10:30 pm ET; MLS Live), aren't likely to see a reconfigured lineup from Vancouver similar to the one that fell to FC Dallas 3-1 last weekend.
In that match, Vancouver head coach Martin Rennie's perhaps surprising switches saw center back Johnny Leverón play as a holding midfielder for the first time and central midfielder Nigel Reo-Coker line up at right fullback.
- Get the latest Vancouver Whitecaps news at whitecapsfc.com
Rennie even went a bit unorthodox when it came to one of his substitutions, bringing on right full back Lee Young-Pyo as a right-winger playing ahead of Reo-Coker.
Of those three moves, only Reo-Coker had previously played in his new position during his time with Vancouver. Earlier this season, that move paid dividends as the 'Caps were able to string a few road results together midseason with the Englishman slotting in for a tiring Lee.
But it doesn't appear Vancouver's head coach is willing to see his midfield without Reo-Coker down the stretch.
“I think he'll play there most of the time,” Rennie said of Reo-Coker playing in midfield after a training session this week at the University of British Columbia. “I think Nigel did well in that game and helped us in that position. It would be nice if we could duplicate him.”
As for Leverón, it seems that midfield trial likely won't be revisited this season, with Rennie describing the Honduran as “more of a center back.”
“He was quite involved in the game, and I thought he was comfortable on the ball,” Rennie said. “I think obviously there were a few things he could have done a little bit better. Maybe more a case of tracking runners, like maybe on the second goal, the ball came long, and he didn't head it really far enough away but really you're hoping the midfield players are goal side on that.”
Martin MacMahon covers the Vancouver Whitecaps for MLSsoccer.com.