Back in the fold
Two important players look like they could be in contention for a return for Vancouver Whitecaps FC this Saturday on the road at D.C. United (4 p.m. PT, Sportsnet Pacific, Bell mobile devices, TEAM 1410 and teamradio.ca).
Center back Brad Rusin and central midfielder Gershon Koffie both trained with the first team on Monday at the University of British Columbia after participating on a limited basis over the past month.
Rusin has been dealing with a calf injury while Koffie has battled a quad issue. Neither has played since the 2-2 draw with Portland Timbers at BC Place on May 18.
WATCH: 'Caps return to training
While head coaches generally don’t change winning teams – and the Whitecaps have been playing well of late with two consecutive wins – Koffie and Rusin would likely come right into the mix this weekend if declared fit.
“It’s great to be back out there,” Rusin told reporters on Monday. “It’s day one, I’ve got a whole week of training ahead of me, so I just take it a day at a time. But it’s good to be back with the boys and just playing.”
Rusin in particular would provide some solidity in the heart of a Whitecaps defense ravaged by injuries. The big Indiana native looks like a more robust option than fifth-string center back Carlyle Mitchell, who has started the last two games in the absence of Rusin, Andy O’Brien (hamstring) and Jay DeMerit (Achilles tendon rupture).
O’Brien was not with the first team on Monday – Rennie said the staff is “monitoring” his progress.
Also of note, newly signed goalkeeper David Ousted, who isn’t eligible to play until after the North American transfer window opens on July 9, participated in his first training session on Monday.
“It’s a nice day – a nice rainy day,” Ousted joked with reporters on a typically wet Vancouver afternoon. “It’s great to come out and get training and get started.
“I was looking forward to it, and I’m looking forward to the rest of the week as well.”
Martin MacMahon covers Vancouver Whitecaps FC for MLSsoccer.com.