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It may be true that the Vancouver Whitecaps haven’t won an MLS game since opening day, and it may also be true that the likes of Eric Hassli, Davide Chiumiento and Omar Salgado grab the majority of the headlines, but there is one player who has quietly impressed so far this season without spending much time in the limelight.

Gershon Koffie may be only nineteen but he has already proven himself to be a vital part of the Vancouver side. He can read the game well enough to break up the opposition’s forward movement and when that job is done his first instinct is to play a simple pass to his nearest team mate.

Not eye catching moves perhaps but his recent absence, due to the under 20s tournament in Africa, only served to highlight how much he is missed when not out on the field. Without him the Whitecaps midfield were all too keen to resort to hopeful punts, and the back four was left far more exposed than it should have been.

Koffie’s first game back against Columbus on Saturday may have ended in defeat but there were already signs that he brings an assurance that can often be lacking. His style of play not only slows down a team that has a tendency to rush everything but he also grants midfield partner Terry Dunfield licence to move forward with more freedom (as he did when supplying the cross for Omar Salgado’s first senior goal).

He may not yet be the finished article; his passing can still be wayward and the red card that he picked up earlier in the season will need to be a an aberration rather than a pattern, but the Whitecaps have a player that can read the game well, understands his position, and has the right instinct when he has posession.

Koffie might not be the star of the team but he could well be the best player that they have.

 

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