Home Global Game CONCACAF Mitchell call-up stretches already-thin Whitecaps back line

Mitchell call-up stretches already-thin Whitecaps back line


A very thin Vancouver Whitecaps back line is on the clock.

Trinidad and Tobago coach Stephen Hart has called up Carlyle Mitchell to the national side for the Gold Cup. And that means the Whitecaps’ central defender will leave the club after this weekend’s road date at D.C. United.

If T&T is knocked out after the group stage, Mitchell will miss the July 3 match at Sporting Kansas City, the July 6 date at home to Seattle and the July 14 Chicago Fire match. Of course, if T&T survives and heads to the knockout stages, Mitchell’s absence from the Whitecaps’ lineup will be lengthened.

Mitchell started the last two games for the Whitecaps — both victories, albeit surrendering four goals over those matches — after being recalled from FC Edmonton on an “indefinite” basis. Mitchell was recalled because of injuries to central defenders Brad Rusin, and Andy O’Brien. Combined with the trade of Alain Rochat to D.C. United and the season-ending Jay DeMerit injury, the Whitecaps were short in the back. (UPDATE: On Wednesday afternoon, the Whitecaps announced the club had waived reserve defender Adam Clement, a project player taken late in the Supplemental Draft.)

The team reported that Rusin is now back training with the side, but it is still perilously short in the back. It also means Rusin is in a rush to get back to match fitness. Remember that it’s one thing to be training again, and another to be match-ready.

The Whitecaps had intended to send Mitchell to the NASL for an entire season, and would only recall him in case of an emergency. And that emergency happened. Mitchell had played every minute of every FCE NASL match in 2013 until May 26, when he rolled over his ankle on the Clarke Stadium turf in the 17th minute of a loss to Fort Lauderdale. Even though he missed games for the next two weeks, the Whitecaps recalled him and were able to successfully press him back into the service.

But, now, even with Rusin’s return, Mitchell’s absence leaves the Whitecaps little cover in the back. And, given the hectic July schedule — and that the loss of points in July could come back to haunt the Whitecaps in October — Mitchell’s call-up is not exactly ideal for coach Martin Rennie.

Ironically, the two players who the Whitecaps have loaned out to FC Edmonton for any stretch of this season — Mitchell and Canadian keeper Simon Thomas — are going to the Gold Cup. The Eddie-Whitecap hyphenated player is doing well for himself this season…

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  1. Footy

    June 28, 2013 at 5:05 am

    I checked it: Hart is coach, Beenhakker will join him as the Director of Soccer (whatever that means).

  2. Footy

    June 27, 2013 at 6:33 am

    Stephen Hart? I thought Leo Beenhakker was going to coach T&T again?

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