VANCOUVER, BC – Both Andy O’Brien and Johnny Leveron are expected to be in contention for Saturday’s important tilt with arch-rivals Montreal Impact, but if they do play it likely won’t come at the expense of Vancouver Whitecaps FC captain Jay DeMerit.
“I don’t really see how I couldn’t [start him],” Whitecaps FC head coach Martin Rennie told reporters Tuesday at UBC. “I think he has to play.”
Just when it seemed Rennie would have some options to choose from at centre back, three of them went down with injuries last week and it was back to the status quo.
O’Brien (back) and Leveron (calf strain) picked up knocks during the week, while Brad Rusin reaggravated his ankle sprain in the first 30 minutes of Saturday’s match against San Jose Earthquakes.
“It didn’t sound like there was too much concern over him,” Rennie said of Rusin. “He’ll hopefully train tomorrow. If not, then he obviously won’t make the trip.”
As for O’Brien and Leveron, Rennie said he’s hoping “at least one of them” will travel to Montreal with the squad on Thursday, though he’s still awaiting more information on their status.
O’Brien participated in most of Tuesday's training session at UBC – as did midfielder Russell Teibert, who sat out Saturday’s in match in San Jose due to illness – while Leveron did some physio work along the sidelines with club physiotherapist Graeme Poole.
“It’s something that we’ve got used to managing,” said Rennie when asked of his concern surrounding centre back cover. “We’ve probably got more fit guys going into this week for that position than we normally do, so it should be okay.”
News and notes
- A pair of Ghanaian trialists, 23-year-old fullback Stephen Owusu-Ansah and 16-year-old midfielder Prosper Kasim, began training with Whitecaps FC on Tuesday. Owusu-Ansah has spent the last three seasons with the Rayo Vallecano reserves in Spain, while Kasim comes from Ghanaian side International Allies – the former team of Gershon Koffie, Aminu Abdallah, and Emmanuel Adjetey. Both players will train with the club until September 29.
- Adjetey and midfielders Bryce Alderson and Ben Fisk were back at training on Tuesday, after completing their season-long loans with Charleston Battery. Neither of the players are eligible for selection this season. Adjetey and Fisk are signed to PDL contracts and Alderson was still a member of Charleston's squad after the international transfer window closed – deeming him ineligible.
- In other news, the trial of Beh Leandre Pacome has ended and the player returned home on Monday.