Wed, Aug

Vancouver WhitecapsÂ’ Carlyle Mitchell, right, trips Chivas USAÂ’s Eric Avila on a play that led to a yellow card for the CapsÂ’ centre-back.

Carlyle Mitchell is known for his dramatic reactions to injury.

Former coach Martin Rennie and current coach Carl Robinson have both poked light-hearted fun at the Trinidadian’s theatrical displays.

So it wasn’t much of a surprise to Robinson when Mitchell barely made it off the field in Saturday’s loss to Chivas and then declared himself fine after the game.

Good thing, too. With Jay DeMerit (ankle) and Andy O’Brien (hip) on the shelf, Robinson can’t afford to lose another centre-back. Not with two road games this week: Wednesday in Toronto and Saturday in Salt Lake.

And then there’s the point that Mitchell is coming off a game in which he scored his first MLS goal — off a corner, no less, which is a very rare thing for this club.

“It’s a good feeling,” Mitchell said after the 3-1 defeat, “but unfortunately we didn’t get the result we expected.

“(The injury) wasn’t that bad. I just rolled my ankle late in the game. By Wednesday, I should be fine.”

The Caps (6-4-7) will not be pleased with how they conceded either of the first two goals.

The first came off a corner and the marking wasn’t good enough. The second was on a great cross and sublime movement in the box from Erick Torres, but again the Caps will pick apart their role in what proved to be the killer blow.

“As a team, we just have to concentrate more,” said Mitchell.

In the first half, especially, both Mitchell and his centre-back partner Johnny Leveron looked calm and confident. It was their fourth straight game together and that’s starting to show.

Neither saw much time this season until DeMerit and O’Brien went down.

O’Brien is basically day-to-day, but he has barely trained in the last three weeks and Robinson seems set to stick with this partnership in Toronto.

Can they be consistent enough? They still need to prove that. Robinson’s talked about seeking a centre-back during the transfer window, which is now open.

But Mitchell gives the Caps something they’ve missed since joining MLS: a real threat in the box on set pieces.

Perhaps no player in MLS gets up higher than the 26-year-old, whose biggest issue on headers last year wasn’t getting there first but keeping his attempts down and on target.

“I’ve been getting close and I said, ‘One day it will go in,’” said Mitchell. “It was a great cross by Pedro.”