Canadian Russell Teibert has been re-signed by the Vancouver Whitecaps to a multi-year deal. On the surface, it appears to be the right move given, well, firstly, he's Canadian. Whether you like it or not, having a Canadian player on the roster that's competitive for playing time is important for Canadian soccer. He's shown spurts of brilliance (his brace versus the Galaxy perhaps the best), and has been a viable option in the defensive midfield with Gershon Koffie and Matias Laba in a very talented 'Caps roster.
However, there-in lies the problem; As nicely outlined by Gary Kingston of the Vancouver Sun, Russell has some stiff competition for playing time on any given night, and it's not the like the guys he's following are veterans about to be put out to pasture. Koffie, Laba, Manneh, Mattocks, Hurtado; those guys are all around the same age as Teibert. Then there's the Urugyuans, also young; Sebastian Fernandez already has 10 regular season starts under his belt.
Really, you could argue the Whitecaps have signed a great safety valve for the rest of the season in Russell Teibert, and perhaps a guy that can take over if those aforementioned young'ins were to get snapped up by a bigger opportunity. Russell could just be seen as a good option for the bench at this stage, especially if Fernandez keeps scoring, or Koffie slips up. Matias Laba seemed a bit more human in those two ugly outings against Montreal and Colorado, but that looks to be behind him, and he's arguably the most essential part of the lineup. Koffie's looked pretty good this season, but that spot appears to be Russell's best shot.
Or is that being too harsh on the young canuck? After all, he's defnitely shown his versatility, moving from a more offensive role under Martin Rennie to a solid defensive game under Carl Robinson. He hasn't missed a beat, and you can't have enough of guys that can slot in different spots in the lineup. Beyond that, there's a sentimental attachment to Teibert, he's the longest serving member of the club, and the crowd loves him.
So, what do you think? The 'Caps make the right move by locking Teibert up?