WATCH THE 1979 NASL NATIONAL SOCCER CONFERENCE FINAL VS. NEW YORK COSMOS (courtesy of canadianblaster09)
PART 1: http://youtu.be/Tm2WkDW7stc
PART 2: http://youtu.be/tsMbk02WhHI
PART 3: http://youtu.be/ZPO1bfdgiiM
As we look forward to playing in our first Major League Soccer (MLS) playoff game against the mighty Los Angeles Galaxy, the task at hand appears quite daunting. The Galaxy are the reigning MLS Cup champions, and they boast three of the top players in the league in Robbie Keane, Landon Donovan and of course, David Beckham.
If you are looking at this game on paper it is hard for anyone to really believe that we have any chance of going to LA and getting a result. Fortunately the game is played on the field, and not on paper. In fact, our boys can look at some playoff history that will show them they can do it.
To be the best …
It was back in 1979 when we were to face the cream of the North American Soccer League (NASL), the two-time defending Soccer Bowl champions New York Cosmos. In their team were World Cup winners Franz Beckenbauer (Germany) and Carlos Alberto (Brazil), as well as Giorgio Chinaglia (Italy) and Johan Neeskens (Netherlands) – the latter of whom led Holland to the runners-up spot in back-to-back FIFA World Cups in 1974 and 1978. Not to mention the wealth of other talented players they had on their team.
The Cosmos had finished with the best record in the NASL (24W-6L). In order to get past them, we needed not only to beat them once, but twice in a two-match home-and-home series – or in an extra mini-game should we win one match each.
We had confidence from beating them twice during the regular season, but this was the playoffs, and they had the added incentive of hosting the Soccer Bowl at their home venue – Giants Stadium.
Up against the odds
I have to say in looking at both teams’ rosters, our chances did not look too good. But we knew as a team that once both teams got out on the field that we were not going to be outworked by New York.
There was no doubt that there was more quality in their team, but mentally we felt that we had the edge. We were confident that we were more of a team and that we really trusted each other and could overcome anything that the Cosmos threw at us. But as they say, talk is cheap, and in the end you have to do your talking on the field.
Who wants it more?
We played the first game at home in front of a sell-out crowd (32,875) at Empire Stadium. The game was tense, hard fought, and very close. But we remained focused throughout the match and held strong. Eventually they were the first to blink and we came away with a 2-0 victory on goals by ‘Wee’ Willie Johnston and Trevor Whymark. The job was half done, but there was still plenty of work left to do going back to New York.
Even winning the first game did not change people’s opinions; the prevailing thought was still that the vaunted Cosmos had too much firepower for us and that would show with them playing at home.
When you go into a game as an underdog it is said that you really have nothing to lose and can play freely. There is some truth to that – there was definitely more pressure on New York than us – but we had a lot to lose. We had a chance to get to the Soccer Bowl and we were not going to let this team stand in our way.
We lost the game in a shootout, which meant that we would immediately play a 30-minute mini-game. The mini-game also ended tied, meaning the contest would go to a second shootout. After going toe-to-toe for almost four hours, we eventually came out on top.
David had conquered Goliath.
Our ’Caps face a mighty challenge against the Galaxy and will have to play their best game to advance. But I know firsthand that even the most talented of teams can be beaten.
The first step is believing that you will win.
Before the season, Whitecaps FC head coach Martin Rennie set a goal to make the MLS Cup Playoffs. That may have seemed a lofty goal for a club coming off of a last-place finish in 2011, but after a long season the 'Caps achieved that goal. Along the way the team got their first MLS road victory, set a record for the longest shutout streak to start an MLS season, and put together an impressive home record by losing only three of 17 matches at BC Place.
We will most definitely be underdogs going into next week’s playoff clash versus LA Galaxy on the road, but one fact remains: this team is one of only 10 clubs left that can win MLS Cup this season.
A baby boy’s hair is not to be messed with unless the momma bear gives permission. Especially when that hair is curly and blonde. Imagine my shock and, let’s be honest, heartbreak, when I walked in the door to find it strangely quiet in our apartment. Quiet doesn’t happen here much, so I knew something was up. I rounded the corner to our bathroom to find Matt going to town with the razor. I thought he was being nice to let me step out of the house alone, little did I know his plans to shave our son’s head. And the quiet? The kid has a thing for brushing his teeth, it’s like Disney World to him, so Theo happily brushed (also known as drooled) while Matt happily shaved. And I silently cried.
Funny thing has happened though -- Theo is slightly faster, nimbler, and not falling as much (big accomplishment for him). His head has less bruises from staying afoot. We even thought we heard him say “good” the other day when we asked him how his day was going. Could it possibly be? Could the Power of the Mullet be the cause for his advances? We like to think so.
I’ve now embraced his Mini Mullet. Not only is it probably enhancing his physical, as well as mental, capabilities, it looks pretty darn cool for a one-year-old.
To increase the Power, we joined a few of the ‘Caps at Sugar Skull Salon on Wednesday for one last shape up before today’s game. There were no tears this time, but just as much drool as Theo sat still for about three and a half minutes thanks to a lollipop and his rockstar stylist, Gracie. A few new power stripes in there, a snip or two off the top, and he was good to go. I tried to get a snapshot of Theo with the original mullet, but Theo didn’t want to share the spotlight. Clearly the Mini Mullet isn’t helping his manners.
Regardless, today, of all days, is really the day for the spotlight to be on our ‘Caps. So in light of this afternoon’s momentous match: here’s to faster feet and greater goals -- here’s to the Power of the Mullet.
VIDEO: WHITECAPS FC VISIT SUGAR SKULL STUDIOS
If, by now, you are getting tired of hearing about my kids, I get it. But, no matter how many times in a single day I’m tempted to scream, I still think they’re the best and their bums the cutest. Plus, they consume about 97% of my time, so what else would I write about? So, bear with me. I’ll get to soccer in a second…
I had a girl first, so I didn’t know any different. I just figured her playful, energetic, on-the-go personality was normal. Not that she’s abnormal, but I know little girls who will sit still and read books for hours. Ha! Not mine. She’s not a boy, but she sure can keep up with the best of them. She wears me out, but that aspect of who she is is one of the things that I love the most about her.
I thought that maybe because I had a girl with a boy’s disposition when it comes to sitting still, maybe my boy will be calm. Quiet. Gentle. Most of all, maybe he won’t be non-stop. Maybe he’ll give me a break every once in awhile. No such luck. While our Theo is most definitely sensitive, he gives Evelyn a run for her money. The kid is a little daredevil.
Essentially, I’ve got two monkeys on my hands.
This makes game day interesting.
It’s really all about timing. Those 8 p.m. games? Forget it. Half of the moms won’t even try. We want to be supportive WAGS, but in all honesty, will our attendance, accompanied by tired, cranky kids wearing our patience thin, affect the result? Hardly. If anything, the game will go smoother since our kids won’t be around to annoy the nearby fans. We are, after all, indebted to the fans. Our husbands wouldn’t have jobs and we wouldn’t be able to feed those screaming kids if the fans didn’t care enough, so the least we can do is let them watch in peace. Besides, those few precious hours after bedtime are hard to compete with. Fans watch in peace, mommy watches from the couch, everyone wins. And we always hope for a home win.
But say we do luck out and get a 4 p.m. game. Everyone is fresh and just up from naps. The game occupies the whole afternoon, so it’s straight home and straight to bed, which, if you’re a mom and you’re honest, it’s your favorite part of the day. The afternoon is looking great, until every mom shows up with every kid in tow at the same time, and we realize we’ve now got a circus on our hands. Popcorn is flying, someone is crying, Theo fell down the stairs again, we’re screaming to say hello, God forbid the crowd goes wild - it’ll send at least two babies into hysterics, and our awesome suite host gets stuck with babysitting duties. It can get a little out of control sometimes, but that’s life with kids, eh?
Game day can be crazy and exhausting, but one thing it never is – boring. At the end of the day, we love game day, screaming kids and all. And we love it even more when it ends with a big win.
It was ‘Soccer Sunday’ on Bell Pitch, and what a way to wrap up a busy week for Whitecaps FC at BC Place.
Martin Rennie’s side have two more Sunday games at home this season. The win over San Jose was not only their second-straight 2-1 result over the Earthquakes, it was Vancouver’s second league victory on a Sunday afternoon in 2012.
Like any win, this hard-fought triumph over Frank Yallop’s MLS high-flyers was vital in terms of the three points taken, and the morale boost it provides the Blue and White.
To take six points off the favourites for the 2012 Supporters’ Shield (top club in the MLS regular season) is a huge building block to achieve. It was also the perfect tonic for a club that has been through an eventful recent spell.
Among those events have been several notable roster moves that have left supporters looking at their match day programs to familiarize themselves with the new faces. Of course, that familiarization is made easier if the new faces can make an immediate impact. This week, Dane Richards and Barry Robson did just that.
It’s been an interesting couple of weeks for Richards following his move west from New York Red Bulls. The Jamaican international has already made three appearances for the ‘Caps, but his efforts on Sunday will be remembered fondly.
Richards’ ability to out-pace defenders on the right flank is a real asset for Vancouver. The Caribbean midfielder not only found the scoresheet, he also tormented an MLS All-Star in Earthquakes left fullback Justin Morrow.
With Camilo Sanvezzo and Darren Mattocks also causing San Jose headaches, the speed and skill of the ‘Caps attack is sure to cause concern for Vancouver’s future opponents.
As for Robson, the midfielder’s integration with Whitecaps FC is improving by each match. The passionate Scot battled throughout Sunday’s clash - fully aware of the importance of the occasion.
His passing and distribution drew regular applause from supporters, while his efforts to win possession in midfield were very important during the spells that produced Whitecaps FC’s two goals on Sunday.
He also showed his striking power when he converted Vancouver’s lone penalty of the season so far. By the late stages, Robson’s name was chanted in praise throughout BC Place.
If Richards and Robson generated a large amount of excitement, the reaction new signing Kenny Miller received when he substituted late on for his MLS debut was also a highlight of the day.
Apart from almost making a sensational start with a chance at goal, the Scottish international striker did what he could to help his new club to victory in the final few minutes. His Whitecaps FC moments will surely come soon enough…
The Sunday dinner or BBQ will be a bit more satisfying for ‘Caps fans this July 22, 2012. With a dozen more matches left in the regular season, supporters will be hoping for a feast of satisfying results to consume on between now and late October.
Until Friday night!
It was one of the hottest tickets of the summer in Vancouver – a visit by David Beckham and the star-studded LA Galaxy to take on Vancouver Whitecaps FC in a crucial MLS Western Conference encounter.
Most times, the hype and anticipation of a live sporting event is balanced by what unfolds during that event. Wednesday night, however, Whitecaps FC and the Galaxy took full advantage of the energized atmosphere at BC Place by offering more great moments to the 2012 MLS season catalogue.
From a soccer standpoint, the match was a tale of two halves. Whitecaps FC set the initiative by taking a two-goal lead into the halftime break before the Galaxy showed the heart of defending MLS Cup champions to earn something from their lone regular season visit to Vancouver.
The game likely left those who watched it live, on television, or online in one of three categories. For passionate Whitecaps FC fans, there was disappointment at being held at home, while Galaxy supporters would have been relieved to earn a late point on the road.
The third category may have been the more popular one, as the midweek clash left people fully entertained and fulfilled by the gallant efforts of both clubs. Yet, unlike the experience of a satisfying meal, Wednesday’s match will have fans hungry for more soccer entertainment in Vancouver.
There were likely some first-time visitors to a Whitecaps FC game at BC Place on Wednesday night, and depending on their level of knowledge of soccer, the club, and MLS, it proved an outstanding advert for new converts.
Much credit must go to the home side, who showed spirit and application to take the game to their high-profile guests. In particular, some key individual performances made Whitecaps FC fans jump out of their seats!
Fully deserving of the ‘Budweiser Man of the Match’ award, Gershon Koffie played with determination against LA. He deserved more than the one goal he actually scored, while his eagerness to create openings for Darren Mattocks and home debutant Dane Richards was a positive sign for the future.
The young Ghanaian also deserves praise for his defensive work, particularly in the first half, as he did well to nullify the threat that was David Beckham in central midfield.
It was in midfield that another of the ‘Caps top performers offered his new fans a taste of his influential abilities. Using the recent extended road trip to gain his match fitness, Barry Robson might have become the new hero in Van City.
His first-half goal was superbly taken, while his efforts to score again brought BC Place to life in the dying stages. With each match under his belt, Robson is proving to be a talismanic character in Martin Rennie’s side. At the very least, Robson would have been full of adrenaline from the crowd reactions to his efforts on Wednesday night.
And what of his fellow countryman Kenny Miller, who watched his new club from the press box? He must be itching to have a chance to experience the BC Place atmosphere on Sunday when San Jose Earthquakes pay a visit.
It is a bit difficult to sum up Wednesday’s match, but maybe the opinion of one broadcaster at the end of the game offers the best assessment. In his mind, a Whitecaps FC match at BC Place is the best live sporting event you can attend in Vancouver. When you assess our home games this season, the above argument has plenty of evidence to support it.
If you missed out on Wednesday’s soccer fireworks, you only need to wait four more days before another Whitecaps FC match takes place in downtown Vancouver.
Top MLS club San Jose make the visit this weekend, and if the events of May 5 are anything to go by, we are all in for a real soccer treat!
We hope to see you Sunday!