VANCOUVER, B.C. – Iran's World Cup journey ended on Wednesday with a 3-1 defeat to Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Vancouver Whitecaps are hoping their own journey will continue with the return of Steven Beitashour.
After missing four MLS matches while with Team Melli in Brazil, the right back is due to join the Whitecaps in Colorado in time for Saturday's important Western Conference clash (9 pm ET, TSN in Canada, MLS Live in USA).
"I spoke to Beita and hopefully he's going to meet us there, which is a good sign," Whitecaps head coach Carl Robinson told reporters following Wednesday night's 0-0 draw with Montreal at BC Place.
Beitashour's return couldn't come at a better time. An untimely injury to backup Ethen Sampson had already forced midfielder Nigel Reo-Coker to fill in at right back during Beitashour's absence, having played there occasionally in the past.
But Reo-Coker missed the Montreal game on short notice to join his wife in New York for the birth of their first child, with Robinson's blessing.
With no true right back currently available to the Whitecaps, the decision to let Reo-Coker go left Robinson with a major dilemma at that position. But he eventually settled on Carlyle Mitchell, whom he slotted wide instead of centrally. Robinson feels the Trinidadian coped admirably.
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"I didn't sleep till 5:30," Robinson said. "Who was going to play right back? And I changed my mind five times. The reality is Ethen Sampson's injured, Beita's away, Nigel – who has stood in admirably and has been fantastic – is away. So it was like putting a square peg in a round hole.
"I toyed with the idea of putting Jordan [Harvey] there and Russell [Teibert] there and Mehdi [Ballouchy] there, and eventually I come up with Mitch. But it was credit to him today. I thought he was excellent.
"He's a center back, but he's very athletic. He was fantastic, very positive performance from him in an unfamiliar position. He's our third-choice, maybe even fourth-choice right back. I thought he was great."