Utility man

Harvey excelling wherever he's needed

BURNABY, BC — After appearing in the opening three games of the season as a substitute midfielder, Jordan Harvey looks set to start two in a row at left back for Vancouver Whitecaps FC.

Harvey helped Vancouver maintain their perfect defensive record, as the team picked up its fourth consecutive clean sheet to start the season against the Union last Saturday.

“I thought, defensively, I did well, and as a team we did well,” Harvey told MLSsoccer.com at Swangard Stadium after training on Tuesday. “But, offensively, being better in the final third – I thought I could have had better touches and gone forward and created more offensively – as do a lot of the guys right now getting no goals.

“There’s always room for improvement. Hopefully, I get another opportunity and solidify [a starting spot].”

The 28-year-old utility man is deputizing for Alain Rochat, who missed the scoreless draw with the Philadelphia Union and will also miss this Saturday’s trip to face the San Jose Earthquakes as he recovers from an MCL strain.

Harvey was the lone change to the back four against the Union, as head coach Martin Rennie kept faith in the solid trio of Jay DeMerit, Martín Bonjour and Young-Pyo Lee at the back.

“He’s had a good season so far,” Rennie said of Harvey’s play. “He’s played in every game and contributed in different positions. I think he did an excellent job [against Philadelphia]. When the back four is doing so well, there’s more pressure on the guy if he’s coming in as the one change, but I think he handled it well and did a good job.

“He’s definitely in the mix for a starting spot and now’s his chance to take that chance.”

Another player capable of playing in that role is Russell Teibert, who returned to training along with Bryce Alderson following Canada’s failure to qualify for the 2012 London Olympics. Naturally a winger, the Niagara Falls, Ontario, native found himself as Canada’s starting left back during that tournament, although Rennie seems to favor him in a more attacking role.

“I think [Teibert] can play a few good positions and do well, and it’s up to him to find out his absolute best position,” Rennie said. “I think wider is probably his best position, just because his energy is so high and he gets up and down well. As he works on his explosiveness and his final ball, then he could be a good wide player.”

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Martin MacMahon covers the Vancouver Whitecaps for MLSsoccer.com.

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