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Teibert, Dunfield lead Whitecaps to win over RSL in preseason opener



CASA GRANDE, Ariz. — Make that 2-0 for Pacific Northwest/southwestern Canada MLS expansion teams in their first-ever preseason training matches. 

The Vancouver Whitecaps joined Cascadia's Seattle Sounders as winners of their on-field debut as a team, with Tuesday's 2-1 win over Real Salt Lake that was made up of three 45-minute halves. 

That wasn't the way Whitecaps coach Teitur Thordarson would have preferred to play, saying later he'd rather have played 90 minutes and two halves, but the good news for both teams was that no one was seriously injured and, for Vancouver, a win.

With questions surrounding how they are going to find scoring forwards, Thordarson didn't need one Tuesday. Both Vancouver goals came from midfielders, Terry Dunfield and unsigned former USSF-2 Whitecap Russell Teibert, who assisted on Dunfield's goal.

"I'm very happy with what I saw for the first 60 or 70 minutes," Thordarson said. "We kept the shape defensively and we created some great chances. We went forward in the way we wanted. These were the things I was looking for."

Teibert, a small, darting player, took a pass from Swiss forward Davide Chiumiento and put in the game's opening goal. After Real Salt Lake tied it in the 49th minute, Arturo Alvarez doing the honors, the Whitecaps got the winner off a corner kick from Teibert that found Dunfield's foot in a logjam of players in front of the net. 

"It's always great to score the winner," Dunfield, who is under contract after playing for the USSF-2 Whitecaps in 2010, said. "We did really well considering it was our first game. The guys really worked hard for each other. That something that's going to be part of our play in Vancouver… There's definitely some positives we can take from it but there's also definitely some things we need to work on."

Tuesday also marked the game debut of heralded forward Omar Salgado (center, in white in photo above), the No. 1 overall Superdraft pick last month. Salgado showed some flashes of ability to beat his defenders on the ball and a little fire when he reacted to a non-call of a foul and got into a shoving match with defender Tony Beltran, who gave away at least seven inches in height.

Salgado came on during the last 45 minutes and played about the last 30. He often had All-Star defender Jamison Olave marking him.

"He showed us some of his qualities he has," Thordarson said of Salgado. "He can run from these experienced center backs in this league. He keeps the ball well up, and he's actually a good finisher even though we haven't seen too much of it yet."

Thordarson also said after the game that Teibert is a player he could envision making the final first-team roster.

The match was chippy at times. Vancouver's Cornelius Stewart barked at fallen RSL midfielder Will Johnson to "Get up, boy, let's play!" and got a stern lecture from the head referee. The official also called out RSL defender Chris Wingert for an insult he overheard, which got a laugh out of the small crowd watching the game.

Real Salt Lake pressed hard for an equalizer in the closing minutes but was thwarted. Midfielder Andy Williams played well over the second 65 minutes of the game. 

"It was just good exercise, good practice game, somebody else to play against," RSL's Kyle Beckerman said. Real Salt Lake left Arizona afterward but will return early next week.

"We're just trying to build that fitness and keep building as that first game (Feb. 22) comes up. By then we should be 90-minute fit… You always want to win so I'm a little disappointed we didn't, but there was a lot of good to take out of it."

At least RSL was able to get an early look out of a brand-new MLS opponent, Beckerman pointed out.

The Whitecaps opened in a 4-3-1-2 alignment with Atiba Harris and Chiumiento at forward. Signed players included Shea Salinas on the right wing, Dunfield at center midfield, Greg Janicki at center back, Alain Rochat at left back and Jay Nolly in goal.

Real Salt Lake started with a 4-3-1-2 look with Fabian Espindola and Alvarez up top and Javier Morales as center midfielder. Ned Grabavoy and U.S. youth national star Luis Gil were left and right midfielders and Jean Alexandre the holding midfielder. Nat Borchers started at center back with Robbie Russell at right back.

RSL's second unit, which came on during a wholesale substitution in the second half of the three, featured towering forward Pablo Campos with Paulo, Jr., Williams as the center midfielder with Beckerman the holding midfielder, Johnson and Collen Warner on the wings, Wingert, Rauwshan McKenzie, Olave and Beltran as defenders and Nick Rimando in goal.



  1. Who’s ahead in the battle for Vancouver’s right back spot? Wes Knight has been starting there but I know they brought in KC’s Jonathan Leathers to compete.

  2. That’s the first time I’ve ever heard Vancouver referred to as “southwest Canada.” Here in Ontario, it’s the Pacific Northwest to us to, regardless of what side of the border your on!

  3. I believe Teibert is also 18…

    Vancouver really need to start exploring their options up top. But the backline looks to be coming together reasonably well.

  4. Any comments on how Gill played? I think Chiumento is falling under the radar when we say Vancouver has no forwards, this guy can play.

  5. So Salgado is allowed to play for Vancouver even though he’s not 18?

    (SBI-These aren’t official matches and they’re taking place in the United States.)

  6. Perhaps you missed these two quotes. One from a member of each team.

    “There’s definitely some positives we can take from it but there’s also definitely some things we need to work on.”

    “It was just good exercise, good practice game, somebody else to play against”

  7. Salgado will get more minutes definitely. Gil is on a loaded squad, and is still very young and growing. From the games that I have seen him in, he has talent, but is still behind those that are starting and coming off the bench for RSL. Give him some time in the reserve league

  8. Luis Gil mentioned in the lineup.. what do you think the chances are that we see him play this year? who will have more minutes Gil or Salgado?


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