2014 MLS Season Preview: Vancouver Whitecaps Could Be In Line To Surprise Everyone

Jay DeMerit Vancouver Whitecaps

Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

After a season where the Vancouver Whitecaps failed to make the playoffs thanks to their seventh-place finish in the Western Conference, there are several reasons to be excited with the possible outcome for the Canadian franchise coming into 2014.

The upcoming campaign will be the fourth for the Whitecaps at the MLS level and while making the postseason could be considered a reach, it’s no secret to say that they have a talented roster that should be able to stun the league if all things click.

The defense is their weakest link, and they will need to solve their issues to have any chance of making an impact. David Ousted doesn’t offer much security between the posts, but he’s the best option the team has. Luckily for the Whitecaps fans, the team has a strong pair of center-backs that can ease the burden that will ultimately be place on the shoulders of the Danish keeper.

Generation Adidas player Christian Dean, a top-three pick in this year’s MLS SuperDraft, and longtime defender Jay DeMerit have the perfect mixture of youth and experience that the squad needs to solidify things at the back, especially considering that the full-backs are not top notch players.

The midfield area has some very interesting players, and they have plenty of international experience as well. Former British international Nigel Reo-Coker will probably be employed as a holding midfielder, a role he already knows since his Premier League years, but he can also push forward to create chances. The wider roles have talent and experience mixed up since Sebastian Fernandez and Kekuta Manneh have the skill set to create havoc on any opposing defensive line.

There’s also plenty of depth with players like Matias Laba, Matt Watson and Mehdi Ballouchy, three players that need to produce as they can be the difference between winning and losing many games.

The forward line suffered a huge blow with the loss of Camilo Sanvezzo, who ended up moving to Liga MX side Queretaro, but there are enough weapons and depth to replace his scoring quota. Designated player Kenny Miller will anchor the attack, recently-drafted Mamadou Diouf can be a scoring threat from day one, and while Darren Mattocks is a sleeper, he could be a nice surprise if his raw talent is finally translated to in-game production.

Despite the putrid results in 2013, it’s clear the Whitecaps have enough talent on the roster to improve this year. They might not make the playoffs again, but it’s noticeable that this franchise is laying out foundations to have sustained success in the near future. All things considered, that could happen sooner rather than later.

Juan Pablo Aravena is a sports writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @jparavenarant or add him to your network on Google

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