VANCOUVER - The Vancouver Whitecaps lost captain Jay DeMerit to an injury early in their 2013 MLS season opener Saturday.
DeMerit landed awkwardly after making a header in the sixth minute against Toronto FC at B.C. Place Stadium. He lay on the pitch in obvious pain while being tended by trainers, who then carried him off the field on their shoulders as he was unable to put weight on his left leg.
A Whitecaps spokesman said DeMerit suffered a left calf strain. The 33-year-old Green Bay Wis., native has been bothered by an Achilles tendinitis in recent weeks.
DeMerit's status for the game was uncertain until late in the week, when he and the club decided that he was fit to play. He was replaced at centre back by newcomer Brad Rusin, who was acquired in January on a transfer from HB Koge of the Danish First Division.
Rusin, a 26-year-old Crown Point, Ind., native, made his MLS debut after toiling a year and a half in Denmark. He previously played for Whitecaps coach Martin Rennie with the second-tier Carolina RailHawks.