If in some alternate universe, Sébastien Le Toux had not been traded from the Union to the Vancouver Whitecaps in the offseason, then Jordan Harvey would be in the spotlight this weekend.
After spending a year and a half as the Union's starting left back, Harvey was shipped across the continent last July when Vancouver needed defensive reinforcements.
So far this season (and for much of his time in Vancouver last year), Harvey has served as the deputy to Swiss international Alain Rochat. But when Rochat suffered a knee sprain last weekend, Harvey was given the opportunity to step up.
Lo and behold, Harvey's first start for Vancouver since October 22 of last year will come against the Union.
(It so happens that Harvey's last start was against another of his former clubs, the Colorado Rapids.)
I talked with Harvey on Friday afternoon about coming back to Philadelphia, and about his chance to be on center stage in Saturday's game.
Is this your first time having the vistor’s experience in this town?
Yeah, absolutely. It’s my first time staying here [at the visiting team hotel] since, I think, the preseason when I first got picked up in the Expansion Draft.
What’s it going to be like walking into PPL Park from the other side?
It’s going to be different. Like we’ve said in all these interviews leading up to this game, it will be interesting to see how the fans react to Séba, myself and Brad. It will be fun. I’ve had a lot of good memories here, and I’m looking to have some more here Saturday.
You’re pretty active on Twitter. I’m sure you’ve heard a fair amount from Union fans over the last few days. What have they been saying?
Just welcoming me and the other guys back. [There’s been] banter, with if they’re going to boo, and if they’re going to turn it off and turn it on, whatever. It will be interesting to see how they react. I’m looking forward to the game. I’m really excited about getting out there and getting a W.
Alain Rochat’s injury would seem to present an opportunity for you to start at left back.
Yeah. If called upon, this opportunity is huge for me. I haven’t started this season, so with this opportunity with Alain out, hopefully I take it and do well, and hopefully give the coach something to decide later on.
Has Martin Rennie said anything to you yet about what the starting lineup will be?
[This was as of around 4:30 p.m. Friday.]
We’ve run through a few different scenarios. We have some guys banged up, so we’ll see tomorrow. I’m just looking forward to whatever he puts out there – I’m excited to just be here and compete.
When does the team usually find out what the starting lineup is?
We run through a few different things during the week, and then we’ll find out tomorrow [Saturday].
I know you’re a defender, but how much does Eric Hassli out affect your formation, tactics and such?
He’s a great player. He holds the ball up well, and as you’ve seen, he’s instrumental in a lot of our attacks. With him not being here, I think we’ll have a lot of options. Whatever Martin wants to go with, we have Camilo, Atiba [Harris], Séba, Long Tan, Omar [Salgado] – there’s so many options that you can go with in different formations.
He’s going to keep everybody on their toes, and everybody will be ready for tomorrow.
You guys are undefeated so far this season, with two wins and a draw. Does that give you a little bit of extra confidence, or do you just take it game-by-game as they come?
It’s early in the season, and as you know, there are ups and down in every season. We thought it was really important to start the season off well. We did through the preseason, and now we have [in the regular season].
This is the fourth game in. We aren’t saying we’re the best team. We’re definitely confident, but it’s definitely game-by-game. you have to take it game-by-game in MLS, because if you don’t, you’ll find yourself a few games back, and then you’re in a dogfight to make the playoffs.
You’ve had your share of long road trips for games with the Union, and probably with the Colorado Rapids before that. How do you prepare yourself mentally and physically for the experience?
I think the way the coaching staff and everybody has prepared us so far has been great. We’ve been staying on the same time zone, in terms of coming in a little later last night, which would be around 9:00 p.m. our time. So we still got a good night’s sleep, and we’ll do the same tonight.
I feel fine. I thought the travel wasn’t bad. We aren’t going to use that as an excuse. It is the longest trip that we’ve taken, or that we will take this year. I don’t think it’s much of a difference. I’m used to the long travel.