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Why Jay DeMerit’s return is critical for the Whitecaps

AT&T MLS All Star Game - Chelsea v MLS All Stars

CHESTER, PA - JULY 25: Romelu Lukaku #18 of Chelsea handles the ball against Jay DeMerit #6 of MLS All-Stars during the 2012 AT&T MLS All-Star Game at PPL Park on July 25, 2012 in Chester, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)

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We’ve all visited a lot lately about Barry Robson’s absence for the Vancouver Whitecaps and how that softens the attack around BC Place.

And we’ve kicked around the Kenny Miller subject, about how Martin Rennie’s club could certainly use more from their Scottish DP striker.

We may have also ran Gershon Koffie’s name around the table, since the impressive young midfielder recently missed one match while suspended, and now must sit out another as discipline issues keep creeping into Rennie’s assembly. (Yes, they do; we respectfully disagree with the coach’s assessment that this is all happenstance or dumb luck or whatever.)

But the one guy who’s return will absolutely make a difference: commanding center back Jay DeMerit.

Looks like the MLS All-Star will be back on the field this week for the Whitecaps’ match in Portland. And for the side that has lost two in a row, a team looking to arrest a mini-spiral before it gets out of hand and really causes playoff positioning slippage, this is critically helpful news.

I know this looks somewhat counter intuitive, seeing as Vancouver failed to score during its pair of losses last week. So, yes, the attack has gone a little stale.

On the other hand, the defense clearly missed some leadership last week. Some of the schoolboy marking during last week’s loss to Seattle, and a couple of instances of inability to deal with David Ferreira in the previous loss provided plenty of evidence.

Don’t forget about all the 1-0 wins earlier this year for the Whitecaps (five of them by early July). Keeping a clean sheet creates the opportunity sneak away with those close results. So, DeMerit’s return from complications due to an Aug. 11 collision should be a great boost.