I will not write about the Whitecaps’ performance against Real Salt Lake from last Saturday. I really debated it. I thought that I could say that it was probably one of the most irritating, unnerving and frustrating games I have seen them play. I thought of pointing out that having one shot on target at home versus a rival full of substitutes is unacceptable. I had a great argument that the movement was non-existing, the urgency of the occasion a ghost and that the easiness in which they lost the ball and did not fight to get it back was appalling. I was thinking of mentioning that a tiny little player with awful hair overran the midfield like a boss while the boys in Blue and White stood and watched while combing their hair. I was going to close by saying that as fans, we deserve better.
But, I decided not to go that route so I will not write all those things. Instead I will focus on the positives. Yes, there are some positives.
I want to focus my article on the Whitecaps captain, Jay DeMerit. Playing in his final season of a three year deal, DeMerit’s time in Vancouver has been full of ups and downs. Injuries have unfortunately limited his time on the pitch to only 56 appearances over the three seasons. The point here, however, is not the quantity but the quality that he brings. With his leadership, work ethic, passion and obvious defensive prowess, the captain has made each one of those matches count.
A lot has been said over the last six months about DeMerit’s situation with the club. After that devastating Achilles injury that ruled him out (at the time) for the rest of the season, many claimed that the first MLS club signing had indeed played his last game in a Whitecaps uniform. But oh! How wrong they were! In what was nothing short of a miraculous recovery, DeMerit has made a return to the lineup and he has looked as good as ever. However, pinning his come back to the pitch on some divine intervention would be unfair to the dedication, tenacity, perseverance and, especially, the many hours of hard work that the captain put in to ensure that he would see the pitch again in 2013.
I would argue that he was the best Whitecap in Saturday’s disastrous game against Real Salt Lake. I would also go further and say that he is one of the only ones (if not the only one) who showed some energy, leadership, grit, commitment and hunger to win each and every battle. Along with these attributes, you can add his British Premier League and World Cup experience and you get the best one half of your central back pairings.
This is only on the pitch. Off the pitch he is always great with the fans, I can attest for this first hand as I had the opportunity to meet him at a West Vancouver restaurant and he was great. He can always be counted on for an honest quote for the media and he is now very personally invested with the BC community. He is a great ambassador for the Whitecaps brand in the province, country and the league.
My point is that I really think the Whitecaps have to resign him. I know that things are looking a little tight in the central back position but, if there is something we can learn from this season, it is that you can never have enough men in the back. Bobby, I know you are reading this. Sign DeMerit back, go on, do it now.