BY MARC WEBER
We talked to a handful of soccer experts who, on the condition of anonymity, gave us their thoughts as to which Vancouver Whitecaps -- who've seen time with the senior squad -- have the potential to stick around when the team moves up to Major League Soccer in 2011.
All had a strong knowledge of MLS and the Whitecaps roster. The players most frequently mentioned are featured. Defender Jeff Parke, an MLS vet, was left out from discussion as he's on a flexible contract and will test European waters this July.
F Randy Edwini-Bonsu (19) and F Dever Orgill (19)
Dever is one of those players, no matter what kind of game he's having, he can make an impact. He's explosive, quick, has good feet, he's creative and he's young. His upside is better than most guys, so he's got a good chance to do well at a higher level.
Dever and Randy. They're both young, explosive forwards and you've got to like their chances of getting a look. Randy is very creative on the ball. He's small but he's learned to be crafty.
D/M Wes Knight (22) and D/M Lyle Martin (24)
Wes Knight has a lot of talent, a lot of energy, and he's only going to get better as he starts to understand the game. I see Lyle Martin as the same type of player. He's got a great upside but has to learn more about the game, understanding the tactics and positioning, to make that next step.
A guy like Wes Knight, he's definitely got the pace to play in MLS and that goes a long way. Guys like him and Lyle Martin, they're athletic and every MLS roster needs players like that. There's players similar to them in the league for sure.
M Ethan Gage (18)
He's a good player and he's young, but he's in a different spot than the others because he's around the ball constantly. His learning has to be quicker than the other guys.
I think Ethan can really develop into a good player. His positional sense is good, he's got a vision about him, knows what's happening a step ahead and he's getting better all the time.
He's got a ways to go because of the position he plays (central midfield). He does still have a tendency to give the ball away and you can't get away with that in MLS.
F Marcus Haber (20)
He's a player who I think could do very well in that league. He's only 20 and looks the part already. He's young enough that he could well be a player who'll be around.
I don't know if anybody stands out as a slam dunk, but Marcus has good tools. He's a big kid, he's quick, he's got the legs. He still needs to learn the position but he's young enough and he's got some upside. I think he could possibly get on the roster.
M Ansu Toure (27)
You watch him sometimes and wonder why he's not in the MLS already, but then you see the inconsistency. He's got pace and can be very dangerous, but he's frustrating sometimes. There's plenty of players like him in MLS right now, though.
Toure's an interesting player. Every time you see him play he looks like he's going to do something but sometimes the end product isn't there. I think he'll get a look for sure. Left side player, skillful and can cross it pretty well. There are worse players in MLS than him.
G Jay Nolly (27)
He's been at the MLS level already, never really got his opportunity, but seems to have all the tools. The hardest part of a goalkeeper's job is decision making and that's where he's got to improve. That and being more vocal. I could see him getting another chance.
He'll likely get a shot, but I wouldn't see him as being the No. 1 guy. It's such a key position and you see Seattle signing Kasey Kelly and L.A. signing Donovan Ricketts. It's going to depend a bit on what's out there and where the team wants to put its money, but he's shown enough to get a look.
M Martin Nash (33)
Martin Nash can play in that league right now, there's no question about that. The older guys like Nash and Marlon James, it's simply about how they hold up these next two years. Will they have the legs?
It's an interesting situation with [brother] Steve coming in as an owner and people will tie those things together, but Martin's a guy with a ton of experience and definitely he gets a look. I don't think he's a key player in 2011, but as an off the bench guy who can make a meaningful contribution, sure.
© Copyright (c) The Province