Teibert made his first start of the MLS season in Vancouver's 1-3 loss to Toronto on Saturday.
Having started 22 matches in 2014 – a career high, Teibert was back in the first eleven, beating out Gershon Koffe and lining up alongside Matias Laba at the base of the Vancouver midfield. From his left-sided position, the Niagara Falls, Ontario-native was influential in a dominant first half performance from the Whitecaps, helping to maintain possession – he completed some 30 of his 31 passes on the night – and marauding up the left-channel, repeatedly troubling the TFC defenses.
After just eight minutes, he, by all rights, should have registered up his first assist of the season, picking out striker Octavio Rivero running in behind the Toronto back-line, but the designated player could not corral the ball on the turf, registering what could be the miss of the season in the first round of play.
The fifth-year midfielder would have two good looks of his own, testing Joe Bendik with a fierce strike in the 28th minute, having found a pocket of space for a left-footed effort from the top left-corner of the box – Bendik would parry the blast, and sending his other attempt off target.
Full of running, as usual, Teibert would contribute on the defensive side of the ball as well, racking up seven recoveries, two interceptions – including a vital headed intervention that prevented Michael Bradley from picking out Sebastian Giovinco in the Whitecaps area, one block, and a tackle; conceding one foul and losing possesion just once, a marked improvement over what has been a weakness in his game in seasons past.
He was however given the runaround by Jonathan Osorio en route to Toronto's opening goal in the 32nd minute of play – clip below.
The 22-year old Canadian would be replaced in the 64th minute by Koffie with Vancouver having fallen behind and attempting to regain control of the middle of the park with the more imposing Ghananian.
Osorio too made his season debut in Saturday's match between Toronto and Vancouver, helping his side on to a 1-3 victory in their first of seven roads matches to open the 2015 campaign.
Coming off a career year, in terms of starts, minutes, and assist, if not goals, Osorio won a position in a congested and star-studded TFC midfield, taking up the right-sided midfield slot.
Overrun on that flank through the opening twenty minutes, with Kekuta Manneh menacing, Osorio was crucial to the few chances that fell Toronto's way through the opening half. It was his intelligent layoff to Bradley that led to a deflected attempt, which fell into the path of Giovinco, who dragged his shot wide of the left-post and it was his vital running that led to Jozy Altidore's goal in the 32nd minute, collecting a ball from the defenders high on the right, rushing to the outside to gain some ground before peeling away from Teibert to find Giovino, who made a neat curl of his own to evade Laba and find the big American with a poked through-ball.
His passing all night was integral to TFC's second half domination, misplacing just five of some 45-odd passes, while collecting seven recoveries, two interceptions, and a tackle, winning a foul as well.
The Toronto, Ontario-native had a solid look of his own in the 91st minute when the ball fell to him on the left-side of the area, but his attempt on goal was blocked – it was his only shot of the match.
In his third season in MLS, the 22-year old midfielder is expected to carry the flag for a Toronto side that lost the likes of Doneil Henry and Dwayne De Rosario in the off-season.
Toronto-born, but Portuguese-bred – in the footballing sense – Vitoria made his introduction to MLS on Saturday as Philadelphia played out a scoreless draw against Colorado at PPL Park in Chester, PA.
Signed on a one-season loan from SL Benfica on February 9, the centre-back lined up alongside Ethan White in the heart of the Union back-line, helping them register their first clean-sheet of the season.
Playing as the left-sided of the duo, Vitoria was solid, if unspectacular – not that one wants spectacular defenders – contributing a clean match, while showing a certain amount of skill on the ball, seeing just five of his fifty-plus passes go astray. That said, he did have a penchant for the long ball, which plays well into the Union's pace in wide positions.
Without being overly tested by a still-evolving Rapids attack, the 28-year old Vitoria compiled five clearances, three tackles, and two each of interceptions and recoveries. He also picked up his first booking of the season in the 25th minute, chopping down the speedy Dominique Badji when drawn out wide and beaten for pace – it was one of three fouls he conceded on the night, winning two for his side in the process.
The big centre-back showed some of his experience in a second half play, first preventing Badji from going to the outside, then wisely getting out of the way of his hurried shot, thereby eliminating any risk of a costly deflection.
All told, an impressive debut for the Canadian-born defender in first first MLS appearance.
Akindele, who was awarded last season's Rookie of the Year trophy, resumed his starting role for Dallas in their 1-0 win over San Jose on Saturday.
Having made eighteen starts in his first campaign, the Calgary-born forward, took up a position on the left-side of a rampant and fluid Dallas attack, who struggled to beat San Jose keeper David Bingham.
As usual, Akindele roamed all over the pitch, popping up deep in defense – amassing seven recoveries, three interceptions, and three clearances throughout - and ranging forward in attack; he once nearly beat the equally-active Bingham to a long ball, only for the keeper to get the vital touch at the last second.
He had two solid attempts at goal, scuffing a clean, left-footed look wide of the right-post on the turn in the 61st minute when a bouncing ball fell to him in space on the left – and then seeing his point-blank redirection of a Michael Barrios cross from the right denied and smothered by Bingham in the 84th.
His passing was typically erratic, completing 21 of thirty attempts – a feature of his constant low-percentage prodding of the Earthquake defenses (not necessarily a bad thing) – and lost possession twice through ninety minutes, while straying offside on one occasion.
Well known by now – and roundly commentated upon, Akindele's international future is still up in the air, as he took part in the US National Team's January camp.
Kofi Opare, Maxim Tissot, and Patrice Bernier were on the benches for DC and Montreal, respectively, as United rolled out 1-0 winners over the Impact.
Sam Adekugbe, Ashtone Morgan, and new homegrown-signing Jay Chapman were in the squads for Vancouver and Toronto on Saturday.
Kyle Bekker, who was traded from Toronto to Dallas in January, was an unused substitute in Dallas' late 1-0 win over San Jose on Saturday night.
News & Notes
Though the opening round featured little Canadian content, there was one addition during the off-season that should prove interesting, as Sporting KC signed oft-national team left-back/midfielder Marcel de Jong, who saw his contract with German side FC Augsburg terminated in January (by mutual consent).
Similarly, Karl Ouimette, who was stunningly released by the Montreal Impact back in February, has impressed in a trial with former manager, Jesse Marsch, now in charge of the New York Red Bulls, earning a spot with the New Jersey-based club.
On final new face made his first appearance of the season, as former Canadian international Marc Bircham joined Frank Yallop on the Chicago Fire bench as they lost in the opening match of the round on Friday, 2-0 to the Los Angeles Galaxy in LA. Bircham left QPR, where he had spent the last five season, at the start of February to join the Chicago coaching staff
As the season continues, more of the news from the off-season will be sprinkled in to augment the coverage.
Each week James takes a look at the contributions of Canadians in the league and the league as a whole.