An opportunity earned
BURNABY, BC – Like many of his teammates, Jordan Harvey was keeping up with Chivas USA’s match against FC Dallas on Sunday.
The Vancouver Whitecaps FC left back couldn’t watch the game, but was following along on his phone as the Los Angeles-based club did his team a huge favour by restricting Dallas’ haul to just one point with a 1-1 draw.
“I was following it on Twitter and getting updates from guys,” Harvey told MLSsoccer.com after a training session at Burnaby Lake field on Tuesday. “Then after it finished I was watching the highlights on the MLS [smartphone] app, so everybody’s got an eye on that and it worked out to our advantage.”
While last weekend was a “hands-off” situation for Harvey and his teammates with no match to play, the Southern California native has taken anything but a back seat over the past few weeks, starting five consecutive matches since September 1.
The 28-year-old has been a beneficiary of Alain Rochat’s conversion from left back to a holding midfield role, but that’s a relationship that has worked both ways, according to head coach Martin Rennie.
“Both of those guys can be starters in this league,” Rennie said. “The fact that Alain’s done so well in central midfield has given Jordan extra time and I think the fact Jordan has done so well encouraged us even more to give Alain a chance in midfield, so it’s nice to have that option.”
For Harvey, he admits it was a struggle watching from the sidelines for large stretches this season, especially from mid-May to late June, when he played just 29 minutes in three substitute appearances over a six-game spell.
“It’s very difficult,” Harvey said. “Throughout the season you feel like you’re playing well, and you think you’ve proved yourself – but there are guys on the team that are good players, and they’re proving themselves too. So you have to keep your head down, keep battling and wait until you get your opportunity.”
And now that he’s earned that opportunity, Harvey has no intention of giving up his spot as the team continues its push to become the first-ever Canadian team to qualify for the MLS Cup playoffs.
“This is down to the wire and these are big games, so it's nice to be out there for those,” Harvey said. “Coming off a performance with a 4-0 win [over Chivas USA last week], everybody’s on a high right now with some confidence, so you have to carry that on through the season and hopefully into the playoffs.”
Martin MacMahon covers Vancouver Whitecaps FC for MLSsoccer.com.