Whitecaps FC Russell Teibert BC Place
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Minutes slowly adding up for club and country for Teibert

There’s no bright side on the day of a derby defeat.

But for Vancouver Whitecaps FC, despite their 2-0 loss to Seattle Sounders FC at CenturyLink Field, it must be encouraging to see 19-year-old Russell Teibert continue his development by playing further minutes.

Fresh off his debut with the Canadian national team in last week’s 2-0 friendly win over Trinidad & Tobago, the Niagara Falls, Ontario, native got the nod from head coach Martin Rennie on Saturday, in a crucial period with Vancouver trailing 1-0 with 16 minutes to play.

“I was very happy to come on and get some time in the game,” Teibert told Vancouver radio station TEAM 1410 following the match. “I was very excited to be here after having time away with the men’s national team. I came on to try and make a difference, but when you’re down a goal in Seattle, it’s a very difficult situation you’ve put yourself into.”

While the match didn’t end in Vancouver’s favour, simply getting on the field is a boost for Teibert, who has largely been restricted to a spot on the bench or appearances in the MLS Reserve League this season.

He only made his first appearance of the season in Vancouver’s 2-1 win over Real Salt Lake on August 11, coming on for a four-minute cameo.

But in his appearance for his country last week, Teibert came on and made a real difference, creating a number of scoring chances and playing a part in the play which led to a penalty for Canada’s second goal of the match. And according to the youngster, Canada head coach Stephen Hart was pleased.

“He said it was a great debut for me,” Teibert recounted. “For having my first game with the national team, I made a good impression. He was happy with a couple of things that I did, but there’s still obviously a lot to work on – a couple of chances I should have finished – but, you know, it can only go up from here.”

With a window seemingly opening with his club side, the next step for Teibert is a spot in a competitive match for Canada, as 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifying resumes next month against Panama.

“That would be a dream come true,” Teibert said. “I’m going to keep working hard and keep doing the little things right and take it day by day, and if that chance comes, I’d be very honoured.”

Martin MacMahon covers Vancouver Whitecaps FC for MLSsoccer.com.