BY MARC WEBER
Whitecaps' Mason Trafford is more than ready to step into a centre-back spot.
Photograph by: Arlen Redekop , The Province, The Province
Some players picture themselves scoring as pre-game preparation. Others imagine the perfect pass, or a save. Mason Trafford starts with a mental map and a You Are Here arrow.
"Because I play so many positions, I like to visualize and get all that stuff going a day or two before the game," said Trafford, 22, the versatile Whitecap who's likely to start at centre back against the Impact on Saturday in Montreal (10:30 a.m. PT, CBC).
"I think about where I'm going to be and run plays through my mind. With our zone defence it's precise on where you've got to be, where you've got to pressure."
The defensive-minded North Vancouverite has started six times in all competitions this season -- twice in central midfield, twice on the left wing and twice at left back.
He played a handful of minutes at centre back -- his college position -- as a substitute in the Whitecaps' last two games. Trafford's left foot is part of what makes him the utility man.
"He also understands the game, which helps," said Martin Nash.
With Wesley Charles suspended two games for his tussle with teammate Charles Gbeke, Jeff Parke out with turf toe and Justin Thompson quitting the squad to focus on his business, the centre-back spot, once the Caps' deepest position, is suddenly an area of concern.
Trafford is the probable pick to line up alongside veteran Marco Reda. Former SFU star Luca Bellisomo, 22, is the other option.
Coach Teitur Thordarson said Charles's suspension "is hitting us much harder because of the injury situations." He brought York centre-back Gerard Ladiyou, into training this week to keep Bellisomo and Trafford on their toes.
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