Vancouver Whitecaps attacker Russell Teibert would never consider turning down a call up for his native Canada, but he does admit leaving the club for this summer’s Gold Cup is a tad bittersweet given the form he’s enjoying at club level.
Saturday’s 1-0 win over D.C. United marked the 20 year old’s final game with the ‘Caps before linking up with the Canadian national team for its training camp down in Oxnard, Calif.
“I’m definitely going to miss playing with these guys,” Teibert told Vancouver radio station TEAM 1410 following Saturday’s 1-0 win over D.C. United, in reference to the excellent chemistry he’s displayed with fellow attackers Kenny Miller and Camilo. “I wish I could stay and play [Sporting] K.C. – one more game.
“But it’s a call up to the national team. It’s something I’ve dreamed about since I was little, so I’m extremely excited to get back to the national team and play in the Gold Cup.”
Teibert is in scintillating form of late, picking up two goals and six assists over his last seven matches. His six assists overall this season have him joint second along with the likes of MLS stars FC Dallas midfielder David Ferreira, and the LA Galaxy’s Designated Player pairing of Robbie Keane and Landon Donovan, just one behind former Whitecap Sebastien Le Toux.
But, the Niagara Falls native is cognizant of the fact that in order to pick up assists, he needs his teammates to finish well – Camilo has been scoring at will of late with a remarkable seven goals in his last six games, and Teibert has played a part in his fair share of those markers.
Teibert is also quick to credit the likes of Miller, who continues to enjoy an excellent season of his own with excellent movement up top alongside Camilo after recovering from a hamstring injury which caused him to miss the better part of two months to start the campaign.
“Getting Kenny back in the lineup has been huge and crucial for us,” Teibert responded when asked what could be viewed as a turning point for the ‘Caps after a stuttering start to the season. “Each time he’s on the field with the XI, he brings a lot to the game.
“If he’s not scoring, he’s putting in a lot of work.”
Now the hope is to carry this fine club form onto this season’s regional showdown, where Canada will face the likes of Martinique, Mexico and Panama in the group stage.
“This will be my first Gold Cup tournament,” Teibert said. “I’m extremely excited to get with the squad. I think it’s just about doing the simple things right and being professional – understanding what coach Colin Miller wants us to do, what tactics we’re going to play.
“In the end it comes down to playing for your country and playing on the international stage.”
Martin MacMahon covers the Vancouver Whitecaps for MLSsoccer.com.