BURNABY, BC – The words “fight” and “effort” have been used a lot around these parts over the last few weeks, as Vancouver Whitecaps FC look to claw their way back into the playoff picture.
One player who encapsulates those qualities is Jordan Harvey.
It’s a big part of the reason why Harvey is in the midst of his 10th MLS season. It's a big part of the reason why Harvey is Vancouver's all-time leader in MLS appearances and starts.
And it’s also part of the reason why he was arguably Vancouver’s best player in the first half of this season, as Whitecaps FC head coach Carl Robinson acknowledged on Tuesday.
Harvey has been out of the lineup for over a month now, missing five MLS matches due to an MCL sprain suffered in training, but he appears to be nearing a return. The 32-year-old trained fully for the first time on Tuesday and said he’s “chomping at the bit” to get back into game action.
“I got the injury and in my head, I was hoping it was just a week,” he said. “Then it went to two, and now three. So with each week, I’ve just kind of pushed back expectations. I feel really great … I’m so hungry to get back. It’s not even funny.”
The door is open for Harvey to make his return this Saturday against New York Red Bulls (4 p.m. PT on TSN1 – tickets still available) with Marcel de Jong away on international duty, but Robinson said that would be decided later this week.
“He’s not far away,” Robinson said. “Whether he’ll be right or not, I’ll decide on Thursday/Friday. Marcel de Jong coming in at that time has certainly helped. I think Marcel’s performances got very strong over the last two weeks especially. You don’t like to lose your key players in your team. If you look since the start of the season, Jordan was a regular for us and a rock for us.”
If Harvey isn’t quite ready for this weekend, it’s expected that Saskatchewan native Brett Levis will make his MLS debut. The 23-year-old midfielder-turned-left back signed his first MLS contract last Tuesday before impressing later that night in Vancouver's 3-0 CONCACAF Champions League victory over Sporting Kansas City.
“If we decide to go with Jordan because he’s right, then I’ve got full faith in him,” Robinson told reporters. “If we don’t, then Brett Levis is knocking on the door and we go with another young player then that’s what we’ll do.”
Robinson was also asked about the status of Kekuta Manneh (right foot) on Tuesday. There’s still no definitive timeframe, but Robinson said: “I’ve been told the end of October, so we’ll see."
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