ALEX KURIAL - Friday, August 30, 2013
Vancouver will be without its leader in games played on Sunday, as Nigel Reo-Coker will be forced to miss the match against Chivas USA due to yellow card accumulation.
The one game suspension was given after the Englishman picked up his eighth yellow card of the season, and second against LA, during Saturday's shutout loss to the Galaxy. Reo-Coker looked as though he would escape the game without being booked, but was shown color in second half stoppage time for kicking Galaxy goalie Jaime Penedo.
Fans and followers of Reo-Coker are well aware of his history of physical play, starting in England and continuing to the MLS. The midfielder consistently ranked among yellow card leaders during his time with West Ham, Aston Villa and Bolton, even leading the Premier League in yellows in the 2006-07 season.
While Reo-Coker has been an anchoring force in midfield this season, playing in 24 of 25 games, his aggressive style has been a cause for concern. Reo-Coker is second in the league in yellow cards, and tied for fourth in fouls committed with 51. Furthermore, the Whitecaps are 0-6-2 in games where he receives a yellow.
The lone game Reo-Coker missed, a Vancouver win against the New York Red Bulls, was due to his first suspension of the season after picking up his fourth yellow card in the previous game against the Portland Timbers.
Head coach Martin Rennie faces a rare decision in having to replace Reo-Coker, something he has done only once all season. Daigo Kobayashi is a possibility to return to the starting lineup after coming on as a sub against LA, or his Japanese countryman Jun Marques Davidson could rejoin the squad after sitting out the past four games.
Reo-Coker is eligible to return Sep. 7 against FC Dallas, and should find himself back in the starting lineup after the extra week of rest.