Teib for two as Vancouver Whitecaps crush LA GalaxyMay 13, 2013 at 10:33 am | Posted in Vancouver Whitecaps, Whitecaps Season 2013 | 3 Comments
Russell Teibert had a breakout match for the Vancouver Whitecaps in a 3-1 victory over MLS glamour club the Los Angeles Galaxy on Saturday afternoon. It is about time. After having played in 19 MLS matches, he had not an assist or a goal to his name. Today that all changed and Russell Teibert proved he belongs in the Whitecaps squad for other reasons than being a token Canadian.
An early injury to starter Daigo Kobayashi put Teibert into the match as a substitute. During the first half Teibert added little impact to the Whitecaps effort, but what a treat we had waiting for us in the second half.
Whatever was put in Teibert’s tea at half time by Martin Rennie made a big difference, as the diminutive Canadian executed the key plays in the second half that won the match for the Whitecaps. The ability to execute key plays was missing in Teibert’s play until tonight. With his performance against LA, Teibert has finally muscled his way into position as a starting player.
The other Whitecaps sleeper who finally woke up was Darren Mattocks, who potted an injury time goal which sealed the match at 3-1. Again, it is about time. While his performance overall was poor, a goal will hopefully give him his confidence back.
With the team looking wobbly going into the match my heart was filled with fear that with four games in the space of two weeks it might turn out to be one defeat after the next. The Seattle Sounders had thumped San Jose 4-0 earlier in the day and if we lost, we would be rooted at the bottom of the Western Conference. Although the Galaxy were missing key man Robbie Keane, Landon Donovan was still buzzing about the pitch, a constant threat to hurt the Whitecaps.
The Galaxy were the better side in the first half, as the Whitecaps tried to re-organize their team after the loss of Kobayashi. Joe Cannon was forced to dive to his left to stop a point blank header early on, and had to be sharp all game (his kicking aside, which was pitiful).
A big part of our win was the pairing of Johnny Leveron and Andy O’Brien, who were solid together in the centre of the back line. Leveron showed he belongs in the MLS; he is a sophisticated footballer with excellent feet. His passing is top notch and he is no slouch in the air either, in spite of being a bit on the small side.
After a luke-warm first half, and with LA looking like they had another gear, the match could have gone either way, but for the play of Russell Teibert. On his first goal in the 63rd minute he got the ball in a bit of room to the right of the Galaxy goal. He took the ball inside, beat a marker, and lined up a left-footed shot that went past three LA defenders and Carlo Cudicini, LA’s goalkeeper. It was a beauty, but his second goal showed even better football awareness and class. Teibert again got the ball on the right and played a perfectly waited pass to Gershon Koffie deep in the box. Koffie outmuscled an LA defender and returned the ball to a charging Teibert, who had timed his run to perfection. He smashed home his second in the 76th minute with another low shot to Cudicini’s right.The Galaxy made a bit of a comeback when the superb Nigel Reo-Coker pulled up with an injury and was taken off for Brad Rusin, who was oddly subbed into the match by Coach Rennie as a central midfielder to replace him in the 85th minute. The Galaxy scored immediately. A perfect cross from Villarreal on the right found LA striker Zardes, who out jumped O’Brien and glanced a perfect header to the far post past a helpless Joe Cannon. It looked a bit shaky for the Whitecaps, and bad memories of giving up leads late in previous home matches started to creep into the mind.
Once on the pitch in central midfiel, Rusin did not know what he was doing, playing too deeply and leaving a big hole for the Galaxy to exploit in midfield. Thankfully O’Brien and Leveron held fast until Mattocks could seal the deal, saving us from being at the bottom of the Western Conference.
In spite of the odd end of game substitution of Rusin for Reo-Coker, Martin Rennie coached a good game and got the best out of the Whitecaps in the second half. With both Mattocks and Teibert finally producing something on the pitch, we can look forward to the next three games rather than fearing them. Lets hope Reo-Coker is rested in midweek and not injured too badly to play next Saturday. He is proving to be the key man in the Whitecaps squad for the 2013 season.