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Tuesday
Feb282012

Preseason Primer - Midfielders

 

For part three of our Preseason Primer Series we will be turning our attention to the midfielders.  Keep in mind that there are some players who fall into that grey area where they may be used as midfielders or strikers depending on how they perform and what formation Coach Rennie uses.  The breakdown for these positions in this post reflects where they are expected to play at the start of the season, assuming Rennie continues to use his preferred 4-3-3 (or 4-2-3-1 depending on how you visualize it).  

Follow these links for a look at the first two parts of the series on Goalkeepers, and Defenders  
 

Name: Bryce Alderson
Position: Central Midfield
Birthplace: Kitchener, Ontario
Bio: This Canadian teen is facing a tough task in cracking the lineup with the experienced players in the queue ahead of him.  Alderson has seen success with the Canadian team at the U-17 World Cup.  He was also named U-17 Canadian Player of the Year in 2010 and 2011.  However, minutes will be tough to come by with a lot of bodies, if not necessarily a lot of talent, ahead of him.  Expect him to be honing his craft with the Reserves.  Luckily for Vancouver, Alderson was born in Kitchener, which is 2 miles outside the terretorial zone controlled by TFC.  Had he been inside the Caps would have needed to trade for his rights.    
Twitter Account: @AldersonBryce
Recommended 2012 Hashtags:  #reserves, #alderson, #suckitTFC


Name: Jun Marques Davidson
Position: Central Midfield
Birthplace: Tokyo, Japan
Bio: Another on the lengthy list of former Railhawks (aka FCRUMRs), Davidson was brought in to fill the massive void that plagued the team in the middle of the park last year.  Playing mostly in Japan, the worry with Jun is that he will have a hard time adjusting to the physical nature of the MLS.  Early reviews have him pegged as a cool customer who is never forced to panic on the pitch.  If he is able to handle the grind of the MLS season, some composure from an experienced campaigner may be just what the doctor ordered.  If things go according to plan, the Japanese import may steal a page out of Piston Honda's book from the classic video game "Mike Tyson's Punch Out" and give the opposition a TKO from Tokyo!
Twitter Account: N/A
Recommended 2012 Hashtags: #iceman, #tkofromtokyo, #FCRUMR



Name: Atiba Harris
Position: Right Midfield
Birthplace: St. Kitts and Nevis
Bio: Harris began Round 1 as a starting 11 striker for the Caps and hit the ground running with 2 goals and 3 assists in his first 5 games.  Before we could figure out if he was a flash in the pan he went off and injured his knee, putting him out of commission for the rest of the season.  His pace and strength was certainly missed as the burden to lead the line was left to Eric Hassli who began to fade as the season wore on.  With Rennie deciding to sign a striker a day (kidding....sort of), Harris looks to be shifted to the right of midfield instead of playing up front, so we will call him a midfielder for now.  Assuming he can adapt to this position, this may provide the team with a bit more balance up front.  Now we just need his surgically repaired knee to hold up.
Twitter Account: @AtibaHarris9
Recommended 2012 Hashtags: #atibawillrun


 
Name: Gershon Koffie
Position: Cenral Midfield
Birthplace: Koforidua, Ghana
Bio: Hands down the most affable player on the roster.  Often found hanging around Empire Stadium/BC Place after the games to mingle with the fans, he is always eager to share his personal cell number and engage in text conversations after the games.  The 2011 Most Promising Player Award winner has hardly scratched the surface of his considerable potential.  Unfortunately, with the influx of experienced heads on the team Koffie may get pushed to the fringes of the first team or even to the bench.  Fear not though, as I am sure he will continue to respond to our text messages.    
Twitter Account: @Gersh28koffie
Recommended 2012 Hashtags: #strongbrewofkoffie


Name: Michael Nanchoff
Position: Central Midfield
Birthplace: North Royalton, Ohio
Bio: Another graduate of the University of Akron's soccer factory, Nanchoff spent most of last season playing for the reserve squad.  A young one with potential, he would prefer to play in the heart of the midfield, although Coach Rennie has used him on the right wing in the preseason as well.  
Twitter Account: N/A
Recommended 2012 Hashtags: #nobodynunchuksnanchoff

  Name: Lee Nguyen
Position: Right Midfield
Birthplace: United States
Bio: Nguyen has bounced around Europe and Asia, playing in Holland, Denmark, England, and Vietnam.  He looks to be in Rennie's plans as a right winger.  More importantly, Nguyen is the early leader in the category of “Most Active Twitter User” from the current roster.  He tweets on Caps information, his personal life, and some completely random stuff ("not a big fan of bangs but Taylor Swift pulls it off well in her new video #hawtt").  What is nice is he appears to reply if you send him any tweets directly.    
Twitter Account: @LeeNguyen14
Recommended 2012 Hashtags: #unhealthytaylorswiftcrush, #twitterwizard, #mylifein140characters, 

 

UPDATE: Lee Nguyen was waived today by the Whitecaps.  I suppose it is our fault for publishing an article before today's deadline for all MLS Rosters to be finalized.  Lee, we were just starting to get to know you through your wacky tweets.  You leave a sizeable wake behind you in the Whitecaps' Twitterverse.


 

Name: Barry Robson
Position: Central Midfield
Birthplace: Scotland
Bio: The second Designated Player on this year’s roster.  He can only ever impress considering he is replacing the ridiculously unimpressive Mustapha Jarju.  By all accounts, he should be exactly what the ‘Caps were lacking last year in the middle of the park – a tenacious ball winning central midfielder with a nose for goal.  He will not be joining the team until July, once his season in England comes to an end and he takes time for a short break (we can only assume to eat Haggis and watch Braveheart).
Twitter Account: @BarryRobson17
Recommended 2012 Hashtags: #moreboxtoboxthanboxall, #iknowgrahamtooke


 
Name: Russell Teibert
Position: Left Midfield
Birthplace: Niagara Falls, Ontario
Bio: The shining star of the Whitecaps Residency program and a firecracker on the wings.  Teibert carries the burden of expectation on his shoulders for club and country.  An injury plagued 2011 cost him some of his development time after a promising start to the year.  The way I see it, if you pick up a season ending injury because you wore flip-flops on a bike, you not only missed playing time, but you made a major fashion faux pas.  At least we know he was not wearing socks as well since his injury was a cut toe.  It just goes to show that soccer players should eliminate the all forms of "flops" from their lives - on the field and on their feet.      
Twitter Account: N/A
Recommended 2012 Hashtags: #flipflopwillmakeyoujumpjump

Name: John Thorrington
Position: Central Midfield
Birthplace: Johannesburg, South Africa
Bio: Signed to provide the inaugural Whitecaps MLS squad with some experience, particularly since he had played in the MLS with Chicago previously, Thorrington disappointingly missed the majority of the season through injury.  As he finally got fit towards the end of the campaign, his calming influence began to become apparent.  His role will likely be similar to what was expected last year - steady the ship through leadership on the field, and mentor the young bucks coming through.  Hopefully he stays fit enough to accomplish these tasks.  
Twitter Account: N/A
Recommended 2012 Hashtags: #samisalohasnothingonme

Name: Matt Watson
Position: Central Midfield
Birthplace: Redditch, England
Bio: Watson is an interesting signing for the Caps as Rennie clearly felt he could compete at the MLS level, despite never being the stand out star of his teams in the tier below.  The book on Watson is he is a steady presence in the centre of the park with an eye for goal.  That generic description can be used for several of this year's Whitecaps (Thorrington,  Davidson, Robson) and even Vagenas from last year's squad.  My hunch is that he will play a depth role on the team.  
Twitter Account: @mattwatson8
Recommended 2012 Hashtags: #FCRUMR


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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