Injuries on the backline combined with a logjam of available players on the wings have Canadian teenager Russell Teibert move from the midfield to the left back position. The season started with Teibert in the starting eleven playing opposite wing from Davide Chiumiento. It was a game that the homegrown product impressed with both his skill and poise on the pitch.
At the time the Caps were forced to start the youngster as other potential starters like Salinas and Nanchoff had been injured for most of the preseason. After the first two games in which he started Teibert saw very little time due to international duty with the U20 Canada team as well as injury issues. Once he regained his health time on the pitch was limited with Salinas back from the injury list and Camilo becoming a regular starter on the wing once Soehn took over as coach. With Nanchoff also returning from injury and the ability of Chiuminento to play the wing, Teibert was going find it difficult to find time on the pitch.
Injury is another major factor for the Whitecaps to try Teibert on the backline as DeMerit has been hurt which forced Rochat to play inside. They have acquired Jordan Harvey to play the left back position but after him there is very little coverage at that spot, especially with the release of Blake Wagner. Harvey has the ability to play at center back in an emergency situation so it would make to start training someone to play the left back spot.
While it would seem odd to move a dynamic attacking midfielder to a defensive spot, the two positions are not too different when it comes to Soehn’s system. For Teibert it will be a matter of knowing and learning when he can jump into the attack and when to hold back. The change will most likely not be a permanent move but it will help his overall game as playing left back will help him learn to be more defensive aware. The biggest positive is the ability to get Teibert on the pitch more whether it is with the Whitecaps or the national squad.
Some may believe that moving Teibert to a defender spot will stunt his growth as an attacking player but there should be no reason he could lead the attack from that spot. A prime prospect like him will not forget how to play an attacking role from the wing so this temporary role should not hurt Teibert’s future in football. There should be no doubt that if Teibert is needed to play on the wing that he will be used in that position, no matter where his future position lies.