Depth! Sweet, Glorious depth!
By Jonathan Szekeres
The Vancouver Whitecaps have been one of the quieter MLS clubs this off-season, which isn't neccessarily a bad thing.
You could argue that the club made too many roster tweaks midway through last season, and that they have learned their lesson for 2013. However, this club is far from perfect, with several notable deficiencies in their lineup. For instance, their offense struggled throughout last season, and no additions have been made. It looks like the 'Caps are plunking all their chips down on Darren Mattocks having a good season.
Secondly, their midfield, once touted as a position of strength, now has several question marks, with Barry Robson having an awful 2012. If he continues to struggle, then Gershon Koffie is truly the only reliable option at mid. Lastly, and most importantly, their backline is thinner than Kate Moss. It's an impressive starting four, mind you, but one injury to Jay Demerit or YP Lee, and you can kiss the season goodbye.
Thankfully, today the 'Caps decided to address their defensive depth, signing center back Brad Rusin to a deal, value not disclosed. What do we know about Rusin? Well, to be honest, not much other than he has great hair. Rusin last saw time for Denmarks HB Koge, but before that, he was a Rennie regular for the Carolina RailHawks. Of course, last year a slew of RailHawks made their way to the Whitecaps camp, including Brad Knighton, Jun-Marques Davidson and Matt Watson.
We may not see a whole ton of Rusin while he's wearing a Whitecaps kit, but that doesn't mean this isn't a solid signing. He's a reliable defender, has a history with Martin Rennie. Obviously, Rennie would've recommended Rusin for a gig on the 'Caps, which means that Rennie trusts and believes in him. Remember, Rennie is still being raked over the coals for the lacklustre additions of Kenny Miller and Barry Robson. You would think that whatever additions the club makes next, he'll want them to be good so he can salvage his reputation. I'm not saying that Rennie's reputation is in the dumps, I'm just saying that he already has two very high priced strikes against his record.
In any case, Rusin should be a solid addition to the club. He's a big, towering body, which is always a good option to have on your backline. However, even at 6'4, he's athletic and quick on his feet. He's also got some leadership qualities, as he was captain of the RailHawks for the 2011 season, before going to Denmark.
It's a nice move for a thin backline, so let's hope it doesn't fail. Let's hope that Brad Rusin is more YP Lee than Martin Bonjour.