Wed, Aug


Carlyle Mitchell Carlyle Mitchell has made the 18-man roster for every Vancouver Whitecaps game this season but hasn't seen a minute of playing time.

That should change soon.

The Caps' Amway Canadian Championship semi-final series game in Edmonton this week marks the start of a possible stretch of eight games in 24 days so Whitecaps understudies will get a chance to play.

Mitchell, a 24-year-old Trinidad & Tobago international centre back, can't wait.

“I've been on the 18 so many times this season and now I'll get a chance so I'll take it,” he said Monday after a Whitecaps training session in Burnaby.

The 6-2, 165-pound defender had three late-season starts for Vancouver after the Caps signed him last September and looked effective in establishing himself as a speedy and physical presence in Major League Soccer.

But starting centre backs Jay DeMerit and Martin Bonjour have anchored a back line that has posted six clean sheets in eight games this season so Mitchell has patiently taken a regular seat on the bench.

“It's not frustrating but at the same time, you really want to play,” he said. “You just have to wait for your chance to come and grasp it with both hands. Nothing happens before its time.”

Mitchell has partnered with centre back Michael Boxall in the club's three reserve games so far this season and scored a last-minute goal to salvage a 1-1 draw with the Seattle Sounders reserves last month.

He enjoys the playing time he gets at the reserve level but said it doesn't replicate the intensity of an MLS game.

“It's just not the same so you really have to adjust yourself for the big games,” he said.

Boxall, a New Zealand international who started seven of the Whitecaps' first eight games in his rookie season last year, also hasn't seen the field in an MLS game this season and anxiously awaits his chance.

“Obviously it's very frustrating but it's hard to argue with the play of our back four and especially [holding midfielder] Marques Davidson,” he said. “I think he's doing an excellent job.”

Boxall has been working on “little individual things” with assistant coaches Paul Ritchie and Jake DeClute and tries to treat training sessions like they're games.

“Everyone who hasn't been getting regular minutes has definitely been training hard and putting in a lot of effort behind the scenes,” he said. “Whoever gets picked for Wednesday [against Edmonton] and the following Wednesday [in the return match] will definitely be up for it.”

It's a good bet the starting thirtysomethings on the squad – including goalkeeper Joe Cannon, right back Young-Pyo Lee and centre back Jay DeMerit – will be rested Wednesday so they'll be ready for the MLS game against San Jose on Saturday.

So goalkeeper Brad Knighton might get his first start of the season while midfielder Davide Chiumiento, who sat on the bench the past two games, could also see action in Edmonton.

Whitecaps head coach Martin Rennie feels he has a deep squad to draw from and notes several people are coming back from injury, including defender Alain Rochat, who has been out more than a month with a knee issue.

“I do think that fresh legs are helpful as much as possible and we have a lot of big games ahead,” he said.