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Tuesday
Feb282012

Preseason Primer - Defenders

For part two of our series, we will focus on the defenders (for Part One of the series on Goalkeepers, click here).  The defensive core appears to be a set group of players with limited movement between positions.  As we will see in subsequent posts, this is in contrast with the midfielders and forwards whose roles may swap throughut the season in some cases.  On with the profiles...  


Name: Martin Bonjour
Position: Defense
Birthplace: Carhue, Argentina
Bio: One of the earlier signings of the Martin Rennie era, Bonjour has been pencilled in as Jay Demerit’s likely central defense partner if some of the early preseason games are any indication.  Plying his trade mostly in South America, Bonjour comes in as a bit of a wildcard for the North American fan.  He may need to win the preseason battle with Carlyle Mitchell to earn the right to be Demerit’s running mate in the heart of our defense although he appears to hold the early advantage. 
Twitter Account: N/A
Recommended 2012 Hashtags: #martinhello, #martinhi, #martinhowsitgoin, #martinwhaasssssaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaap 


Name: Michael Boxall
Position: Defense
Birthplace: Auckland, New Zealand
Bio: Was the top pick in last year’s MLS Supplemental Draft.  He was picked up at the time to provide cover in central defense, but ended up playing more than expected due to injuries.  Showed flashes of promise in this role last year, but struggled overall at the MLS level.  Ideally he will be hoping to build on some of his better performances, but he is likely to see very little of the pitch with the experience and talent the Caps now have on the depth chart ahead of him.
Twitter Account: @Boxall2
Recommended 2012 Hashtags: #boxtoboxall


Name: Jay Demerit
Position: Defense
Birthplace: Green Bay, Wisconsin
Bio: The first official MLS signing for the Whitecaps and the captain of the squad since their first kick in top tier North American footy.  Jay "Ironically Demerit-Free" Demerit had an up and down first year mostly because of his injury problems.  With those issues hopefully behind him big things are expected from the captain as the 'Caps look to tighten up their defense.  He certainly showed his pedigree during healthier stints last year with some tenacious tackles and organizing skills, although he would benefit from having a ball-playing centreback as his partner.  Also known from the biopic about his rise from the lower English Leagues: Rise & Shine - The Jay Demerit Story.  Possibly also known as an axe murdered, based solely on the picture above.  I mean look at it.  But not for too long.  He'll find you...
Twitter Account: @D6MERIT
Recommended 2012 Hashtags: #captaincap, #demeritfree


Name: Jordan Harvey
Position: Left back
Birthplace: Mission Viejo, California
Bio: Acquired mid-season last year from Philly, Harvey was used inexplicably by Tommy Soehn (ugh, we really need to purge him from memory) as a left back, a left midfielder, and basically any other position with the word “left” in it.  Rumour has it Soehn even tried to loan him to the Vancouver Canadians as a left-handed pitcher but decided to keep him as a left-handed backgammon player for those long travel days.  Soehn also believed that having a southpaw play in goal would give the team a competitive advantage .  Another example of Tommy the terrible tactician trying to trump the other teams (isn’t alliteration fun?).  Note: Soehn did not actually ever mention this, but can’t you totally imagine him thinking it?  Anyways, back to Harvey, who will wind up providing cover at left back for my MVP of last year, Alain Rochat.
Twitter Account: @JordanCHarvey
Recommended 2012 Hashtags: #sorightheisleft, #hardtackleharvey, #shopatflandersleftorium


Name: Young-Pyo Lee
Position: Right back
Birthplace: Hongcheon, South Korea
Bio: An evergreen fullback with international appeal (particularly amongst fans of South Korean football) YPL was brought in to shore up our needs at right full-back once Johnny Leathers was not retained.  At 34 years old, Lee is no spring chicken.  But whatever he loses in age, he has certainly made up for in conditioning as he appears to have a massive engine.  His high fitness levels should alleviate the only major concern that Lee brought to the team as his experience at the highest international levels is undisputed.  Previously successful stints at such marquee clubs as PSV, Spurs, and Borussia Dortmund are evidence if his pedigree, not to mention his time spent with the South Korean national team across several World Cups.  Given what we have seen so far in the preseason, Lee may be one of the best signings of the offseason.  
Twitter Account: N/A
Recommended 2012 Hashtags: #neveroldpyolee, #foreveryoungpyolee


Name: Carlyle Mitchell
Position: Centre-back
Birthplace: Arima, Trinidad & Tobago
Bio: A late season signing last year to help address the weakness at centre-back, Mitchell stepped in and performed remarkably well considering he had just moved to the country and met his teammates only a few weeks prior.  With only three matches under his belt before the season came to an end, it was hard to get a true read on what his potential actually is.  That being said, his short cameo coincided with one of the best stretches of the season for the Caps due to his instant chemistry with Demerit in the back.  Martin Bonjour may be getting the cheerier hello's from coach Rennie right now, but Mitchell may change the gaffer's mind soon enough.  
Twitter Account: Ironically for a guy who's last team was named "Joe Public", Mitchell has no twitter account that we are aware of.
Recommended 2012 Hashtags: #joeprivate


Name: Alain Rochat
Position: Left back
Birthplace: Saint-Jean-Sur-Richelieu, Quebec
Bio: The classy left-back/centre-back with the unforgettable Hannibal Lecter mask.  Was one of the most dependable players on the pitch last year regardless of where he was asked to play.  Perhaps most comfortable as a left back, he performed incredibly well when called upon to lead the back line from the centre.  Scored a doozy of a strike last year – one that I had the pleasure of watching live while sitting right behind him and admiring the path of the ball into the back of the net.  With more competent defenders around him this year (in the starting 11 and on the bench) expect him to be one of the standout players of the year again.
Twitter Account: @alain_rochat
Recommended 2012 Hashtags: #ferrerorochat, #mvp, #hanniballecter


Name: Greg Klazura
Position: Defense
Birthplace: Leominster, Massachussetts
Bio: After being drafted in the 2012 Supplemental Draft and impressing in training camp, Klazura earned himself a contract ahead of Chris Estridge, who was selected ahead of Klazura in the Superdraft of the same year.  Klazura has played well in the times he has been given an opportunity with the 'Caps, particularly against the UVic Vikes while deputizing for Lee Young-Pyo at right back.  He will likely retain this backup role for the time being, although he can slot in at left back if need be as well.  For now, I will assume he is the twin brother of Jon Heder (of Napoleon Dynamite fame) as they look freaking identical. I can only assume he changed his name to avoid coasting on his brother's coattails.  
Twitter Account: N/A
Recommended 2012 Hashtags: #jonhederstwin


About Rajan Dhariwal

Rajan has played, coached, and followed soccer on the West Coast his entire life. Blessed with the luxury of two historically dominant soccer playing nations in his background, he has been lucky enough to witness the dizzying heights of both the Canadian and Indian national teams. Needless to say, he gets his fix for winning teams through his support of Arsenal and the Whitecaps. Follow @pacificblvd

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