After a seemingly never-ending offseason, the curtain finally came up on the 2015 MLS season this week with fans across North America flocking to support their favourite teams.
What did the media make of the action on and off the field? Here’s a selection of press reports covering the ‘Caps and the rest of MLS.
New Boys - An amazing 62,510 fans crammed inside the Citrus Bowl on Sunday to see MLS newboys Orlando City SC and New York City FC go toe-to-toe for the first time. There was no shortage of incident in the match, which suitably ended with a dramatic stoppage time equalizer from Brazilian midfielder Kaka.
Cascadia - The ‘Caps Cascadia rivals both made positive starts to their seasons with Seattle Sounders FC securing a 3-0 win over New England Revolution and the Timbers landing a 0-0 draw with RSL.
Metro News – “…the first game is not indicative of the rest of the season to come” stated Ryan Lehal in the Metro.
Vancouver Sun – The Sun’s Russell Berrisford looked back to last season’s curtain raisers for some perspective. “Last season Toronto beat Seattle in Seattle in the opening game of the season and everybody assumed it was a sign of things to come as TFC’s new Designated Player (Jermaine Defoe in this particular case) was the difference maker. Instead Toronto went on to carry being Toronto and Seattle went on the win the Supporters’ Shield, so anything we take from Saturday’s game should be viewed through the prism of that reality.”
After a long, soccer-less winter we’re now just 19 days away from the start of the new MLS season.
Yes, it won’t be long now before we’re back at BC Place, getting ready to cheer on the boys in Blue and White as they kick off their campaign against Toronto FC. It’s a magical time of year, a time when you can’t help but look forward to the rollercoaster ride that the team is sure to take you on over the course of the next eight months.
So to help you while away the long hours until March 7, join us as we look over 19 reasons why we’re excited for the start of the MLS season.
1. Catch up with old friends
It’s easy to support this group of players. I mean, the team spirit alone can put the hairs up on the back of your neck. And with the core returning for 2015, it’s going to be great to catch up with some of our old friends come March 7.
2. And make some new ones…
You wanted new faces, well you got them. Robbo got his man in the form of Octavio Rivero, a star striker who will hopefully be netting goals and headlines alike over the coming months. He’s not the only new addition to the team, however, and fans can also look forward to getting to know a handful of fresh faces including Tim Parker, Pa-Modou Kah and Diego Rodriguez as the season progresses.
3. Robbo is back
Perhaps the club’s biggest piece of business during the offseason was securing Carl Robinson and his coaching team to a multi-year contract extension. The ‘Caps coach has become a popular figure in Vancouver with both fans and players alike not only warming to his desire to win, but to do it in the right way.
4. The Western Conference is better than ever
It was difficult before, but the addition of Sporting Kansas City and Houston Dynamo mean that the Western Conference is tougher than ever this year. Not that Robbo or his boys mind however. After all the game’s all about big occasions, and the ‘Caps will have plenty of those in 2015.
5. We can chant again
Hands up, who’s looking forward to cheering themselves hoarse again come March? Yes, us too. I mean it’s just not the same in the offseason is it?
6. It’s an excuse to wear your scarf in the middle of summer
As if that’s a bad thing.
7. Waston’s crazy goal celebrations
The high step, the outstretched arms; we got a brief glimpse of the sheer elation that the Towering Tico experiences during his goal celebrations last year. Here’s hoping we get to see a lot more of that smile in 2015.
8. Happy hour
Come on, you’ve missed them haven’t you? Those all too brief moments of anticipation before kickoff when you get to share a drink (an early bird drinks special at BC Place of course) and some pre-match speculation with your fellow fans? We know we have.
9. Pedro’s had a break
Pedro Morales won the MLS Newcomer of the Year award in 2014 after playing without a break for nearly 18 months. Now, imagine what he can do after enjoying a proper rest. Scary.
10. Joker in the pack
In Pa-Modou Kah, the ‘Caps didn’t just sign a veteran defender with an abundance of on-field experience, they also signed a guy who wears a smile on his face 24/7 – well almost 24/7. Kah’s personality has been a big part of the club’s pre-season preparations, a joker in the pack who’s quickly become a key component of the dressing room chemistry that makes this team so special.
11. Mauro’s back
And looking better than ever.
12. Kings of Cascadia
We know what we are, we know what we aaaarrreeeeeee! After ‘that night in Seattle’ the ‘Caps were crowned Kings of Cascadia for the second successive year. Can we make it three in a row? We hope so. But no matter what, you can bet your bottom dollar that our fans will have plenty of fun taunting our near neighbours with our success.
13. Robbo’s sweaters
Who isn’t excited to see what new knitwear Robbo has added to his wardrobe rotation for 2015?
14. Road trip!
You can’t beat a good away day. Last year, the 'Caps on Tour followed the team across the continent, showing up everywhere from Chicago to San Jose to support the Blue and White. And, those of you who plan on hitting the road in 2015 will be spoiled for choice with away trips to Orlando, Seattle and Dallas among the hottest tickets for hardcore fans.
15. A new team in town
There’s a new team in town. Yes, WFC2 will embark on their inaugural season out at UBC. The team will not only play an integral role in developing the club’s reservoir of young talent, but it will also give fans the opportunity to get involved in the action like never before.
16. Getting back in the swing of things
Matchday routines, we all have one. Whether it’s donning your lucky underwear, marching to BC Place or enjoying a few refreshments at your favourite pre-match pub; the pre-match rituals are as much a part of the game day experience as the 90 minutes of on-the-field action.
17. A Champion’s League adventure
#CapsonTour in the Caribbean? We’re in.
18. New look kits
Our new kits are one of the most closely guarded secrets in world football, no really. Even so the wait is almost over before we unveil our new 2015 home jersey.
19. Full house
We set a club record with 11 sellouts during the 2014 campaign. We hope to do better this year, starting with a full house against Toronto FC on March 7. See you there!
What are you most looking forward to as we build up to March 7? Let us know in the comments below.
Tickets are still available - get yours here.
The home kickoff times for the team's 2015 campaign were announced this week, giving fans the final piece of the regular season puzzle. Unveiled alongside a broadcast schedule that will see a record 23 matches shown live on TSN1; the kickoff times give fans an opportunity to plan for the season ahead, helping to make sure that they don’t miss a minute of the action.
The news is also sure to start a flurry of activity from our match pack holders who’ve been waiting for the big announcement before deciding which ‘Caps games to commit to.
So what games should you mark in your calendars? Here are five matches that we’re expecting to sell out, fast!
MARCH 7 VS. TORONTO FC 3 p.m. PT
It’s a no brainer really, but needless to say the hotly-anticipated home opener against Canadian rivals Toronto FC is sure to be one of the hottest tickets in town. After all it’s been a full four months since we last basked in the BC Place atmosphere, so there should be no shortage of fans looking to get their football fix come March 7.
APRIL 4 VS. LA GALAXY 7 p.m. PT
Steven Gerrard might not be arriving until later in the season, but the opportunity to see the ‘Caps go toe-to-toe with the MLS Champs is sure to whet the appetite of fans who’d like nothing more than to see the team get one over the Galaxy.
MAY 16 VS. SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC 4 p.m. PT
The ‘Caps will host three Cascadia clashes during the 2015 regular season. No doubt they’ll all prove popular with fans who are happy to indulge in any opportunity to show off their silverware to our rivals south of the border. The first visit by Seattle (who also make their way to BC Place in September) is sure to be a particular pull however, and fans are advised to secure their tickets early to avoid disappointment.
SEPTEMBER 26 VS. NEW YORK CITY FC 7 p.m. PT
There will be a keen sense of intrigue surrounding the first ever visit of one of the league’s newest outfits this September. With the likes of David Villa and Frank Lampard on their roster, NYCFC will bring plenty of glitz and glamour with them to BC Place. But beyond the star names, the real reason this one looks like being such a hit with fans is the potential impact that the late season encounter could have on the Blue and White’s playoff push.
OCTOBER 25 VS. HOUSTON 4 p.m. PT
If 2014 was anything to go by, then fans are in for a treat during the final game of the regular season. The atmosphere, the edge-of-your-seat action, that moment when the crowd rose to their feet to suck Kendall Waston’s header into the net; it was the kind of occasion we all follow football for. Hopefully the playoff picture will be much clearer by the time we get to this year’s final home encounter. However, as anyone who’s experienced one will tell you, the regular season curtain call is still one of the year’s standout fixtures; a date that we expect will be as popular this year as it was with fans last time around.
After a long wait the full WFC2 schedule has finally arrived.
Vancouver’s newest team – a USL PRO outfit that will have a crucial role in developing the club’s pool of young talent - will play in 28 matches during their inaugural season, 14 of which will be home fixtures played on David Sidoo Field at UBC Thunderbird Stadium.
As well as eight clashes against Cascadia rivals there’s also the small matter of a high profile home opener against Toronto FC II to contend with, alongside matches against big hitters like LA Galaxy II to look forward to in 2015.
So which dates should you mark on your calendar? The answer is obviously all of them, but in case you’re looking for some highlights here’s five must-see matches from WFC2’s inaugural season.
Home opener – Sunday April 19th vs. Toronto FC II
WFC2’s inaugural home opener will be an all-Canadian affair versus Toronto FC II. The boys in Blue and White will obviously want to put on a show for the fans, but there’s also a certain amount of synergy to the match-up. After all Toronto FC were the opponents when the ‘Caps kicked off their first ever MLS campaign at Empire Field back in 2011, so it seems only fitting that their USL PRO equivalent are in town for the launch of our newest team.
First Cascadia clash – Sunday April 26th vs. Sounders FC2
There are eight – yes eight! – clashes against our Cascadia rivals during WFC2’s inaugural season. That’s eight opportunities to roll out your best chants, eight opportunities to claim bragging rights over our near neighbours, and eight opportunities to remind our rivals south of the border just who the Kings of Cascadia are. Thunderbird Stadium isn’t going to know what’s hit it!
A galaxy far, far away – Sunday June 14th vs. LA Galaxy II
Okay so we’re not expecting any Sith Lords to line up for the opposition, unless LA make some serious roster moves between now and June; but the visit of LA Galaxy II is still a date that fans will want to mark on their calendars. Galaxy II had a year to remember in 2014. And, whilst they didn’t go quite as far as their MLS Cup-winning counterparts, they are still one of the Western Conference’s bigger fish; one that WFC2 will hope to reel in when they visit in mid-June.
Road trip! – Sunday July 19th vs. Timbers FC 2
With the first team facing the Portland Timbers at Providence Park on Saturday July 18th here’s your chance to double down on some away day action. Yes WFC2 face their Cascadia counterparts the day after the first team, giving you another reason – as if you needed one –to make the trip down the I-5.
Regular season wrap up – Sunday September 20th vs. Austin Aztex
It feels like a long way away, but the curtain is due to come down on Whitecaps FC 2’s season with a September 20th match vs. Austin Aztex. The Aztex, who are affiliated with MLS rivals Columbus Crew SC, will be the last in a trio of home matches that will round off the 2015 regular season.
Which matches are you most looking forward to? Let us know in the comments section below.
‘Caps fans will be like kids on Christmas morning today as the 2015 MLS regular season schedule was announced by the league. The home opener against Toronto FC will have already have been on many fans’ to-do list, whilst visits from the likes of Seattle Sounders, LA Galaxy and NYCFC will also no doubt be marked in their calendars.
March 21 vs. Orlando City SC at Citrus Bowl
Who doesn’t like the sound of a spring break in the Sunshine State? But the ‘Caps early season road trip to league new boys Orlando will be anything but a holiday for the squad. The team knows the importance of a good start and will be looking to hit the ground running with their second away day of the 2015 campaign as they attempt to overcome Kaka and co. during their first ever visit to the Citrus Bowl.
April 11 vs. San Jose at Avaya Stadium
After bidding goodbye to the Buck, the club’s home for the past six years, San Jose Earthquakes will play their home games out of the newly built Avaya Stadium starting this season. San Jose has always been a popular roadtrip for fans and a visit to the newly opened 18,000 seat arena complete with its steep-raked seating and an outdoor bar that’s being billed as “the biggest in North America” is sure to make it one of the bigger away days in 2015.
May 2 vs. Portland Timbers at Providence Park
Though the ‘Caps beat their Cascadia rivals to a playoff berth in 2014, the trio of matches against the Timbers offered a mixed bag for Carl Robinson’s team with a hard fought 4-3 victory back in June giving way to a duo of 3-0 defeats in the latter half of the season. It’s a record that everyone at the club will be looking to set straight in 2015, including our fans who like nothing more than getting one of our rivals in their own backyard.
August 1 vs. Seattle Sounders FC at CenturyLink Field
The team’s sole trip to CenturyLink Field in 2015 will no doubt stir up memories of last year’s stunning 1-0 win, which crowned the ‘Caps Kings of Cascadia for a second consecutive season. Memorable for Manneh’s cool finish, Kianz Froese’s debut and Kendall’s commanding performance; it was an extra special night for the hundreds of fans who’d made the trip to support the team against one of their biggest rivals. With the Cup once again on the line, this roadtrip will be front of mind for the players as well as the fans who’ll make the short trip up the I-5 to cheer on the boys in Blue and White.
October 14 vs. FC Dallas at Toyota Stadium
They say that revenge is a dish that’s best served cold, but given the temperate Texan climate the ‘Caps might be a little hot under the collar (for more than one reason) when they make the trip to Toyota Stadium in October. This after all was the site of the ‘Caps controversial defeat against FC Dallas last year, a painful playoff exit that’s sure to add some extra edge to an already important end of season encounter.
What road trips are you most looking forward to in 2015? Let us know the away days that you've marked on your calendars in the comments below.
The season may have ended on something of a sour note for the ‘Caps after their controversial defeat in Dallas, but whilst fans were left disappointed by the result at the Toyota Stadium the same can’t be said about the team’s overall performance this season.
Looking back 2014 was a record-breaking year for the club, a fact that’s proved emphatically by this fascinating piece of analysis from the main site. That success is just a snapshot of what goes into a MLS season, so we thought we’d continue to crunch the numbers in order to bring you some of the more obscure stats that might have passed you by this year.
346,943 – the number of fans who’ve attended MLS regular season games at BC Place this year.
37,346 – the distance in kilometers that the team has travelled on the road during the MLS regular season.
108,000 – the number of match-day programs handed out to fans.
11 – the number of times the ‘Caps have hit the woodwork during the regular season.
10 – the number of soccer pitches over which the scarves bought by fans this year would stretch if they were placed end-to-end.
26 – the number of players used by Robbo this season.
17 – the age of Marco Carducci, who was the youngest player to lineup for the ‘Caps this season.
35 – the age of Andy O’Brien, the oldest player used by the ‘Caps this season.
607 – tackles made by the ‘Caps season.
25 – percentage of those tackles made by Matias Laba.
12,527 – total number of passes made by ‘Caps players in MLS this season.
452 – number of shots taken by the ‘Caps this season.
480 - The number of community appearances made by players and club executives this year.
3.75km – the distance that the total number of hotdogs bought by fans at BC Place this year would stretch if you laid them end-to-end.
1 – the number of fully grown elephants you'd need to counterbalance the weight of popcorn sold to fans at BC Place during the 2014 season.
4 – the number of months before we get to do it all over again.
Bring on 2015!
Have you recovered from Saturday night yet?
It was an evening that will live long in the memory of ‘Caps fans who went through the full spectrum of emotions before the big man popped up with a big goal that ensured safe passage into the playoffs for the second time in four years.
We were all pretty psyched, even the Vancouver media who filled the airwaves and back pages with the club’s exploits. Here’s our pick of the best of them.
The Province’s back page was focused on Kendall Waston’s heroics with Marc Weber describing the goal as “the biggest moment in this club’s young MLS history.”
The Globe and Mail
Over at The Globe and Mail they focused in on coach Carl Robinson’s pre-game plan to ban cell phones from the locker room so that his players would be focused ahead of kickoff.
The Vancouver Sun
The Vancouver Sun also focused on Kendall’s commanding performance and followed up with a piece on youngster Sam Adekugbe, who stepped into the breach after Steven Beitashour's injury.
Cam Tucker from Metro Vancouver stoked the playoff fires by zeroing in on the ‘Caps growing rivalry with FC Dallas. He wrote: “There’s a history between the Vancouver Whitecaps and FC Dallas, and it isn’t exactly pleasant..”
Kid Carson Show
Sonic’s Kid Carson dedicated his ‘Weekend Rap-Up’ to the team after experiencing his first ‘Caps game at BC Place.
24hrs also focused on Kendall Waston’s game turning moment saying that “The sold-out crowd of 21,000 erupted when Waston climbed the ladder to get his head on the winning goal.”
Saturday’s going to be a big day.
The final game of the regular season will feature Jay DeMerit’s retirement ceremony, fan appreciation festivities and the small matter of a match against Colorado that will decide the ‘Caps playoff destiny.
We can’t wait, we doubt you can either. After all this is why we love sports. We live for these big occasions and there are few occasions bigger than a match that could propel the team into the playoffs for the second time in just four MLS seasons.
The atmosphere is going to be electric, but that’s just one of the reasons why fans should be looking forward to Saturday’s clash with Colorado…
1. We’re in control of our own destiny (still)
The equation on Saturday is simple: the ‘Caps need only to match or better Portland’s result to ensure safe passage to the playoffs. The Timbers clash in Dallas kicks off at 5:30 p.m. PT on Saturday which means that we’ll know the scale of the ‘Caps task around 20 minutes into the game against Colorado. Fans’ attention will naturally turn towards the out of town score, but the message coming through loud and clear from Robbo this week is that the team will set out to win the match no matter what. That’s indicative of the squad’s mindset, but also of the fact that the ‘Caps are a club who are in control of their own playoff destiny.
2. We’re playing at BC Place
The ‘Caps love playing in front of their home crowd. Russell Teibert’s previously described the fans as “the 12th man for us” and you can see the difference that makes to the squad in the recent wins over Real Salt Lake and FC Dallas. We expect BC Place will be rocking again this Saturday as a sellout crowd looks to help push the ‘Caps over the line and into the playoffs.
3. We’ve got this guy in goal
The team’s miserly defence has been a key part of the ‘Caps success this season and no one epitomizes that more than goalkeeper David Ousted. The Danish shot stopper is already assured of finishing the season as the league’s clean sheet king after posting 12 MLS shutouts, a record that many believe places the Great Dane firmly among the frontrunners for MLS Goalkeeper of the Year. Perhaps more impressive than that, however, is the keeper’s durability. Ousted has played every single minute of MLS action for the ‘Caps so far this season, a record that’s filled both fans and fellow teammates with a newfound sense of security.
4. And Kendall’s back
Whilst Ousted’s performances have drawn the plaudits this week, it’s also worth remembering the role that a certain Costa Rican centreback has played in the ‘Caps recent resurgence. Kendall Waston has been a revelation since joining from Costa Rican Primera Division side Deportivo Saprissa and has quickly adjusted to life in Major League Soccer. The gentle giant leads the league in clearances and headed clearances per game, and has formed a formidable partnership alongside Andy O’Brien at the heart of the ‘Caps defence. Though he missed the stalemate in San Jose due to suspension, ‘Caps fans will hope that he’ll pick up where he left off when he returns to action on Saturday.
5. There’s competition for places
Not only are the ‘Caps coming good at just the right time, but they’ve also got key players coming back into the team at just the right time too. Johnny Leveron and Gershon Koffie returned to the team for the stalemate in San Jose along with Sebastian Fernandez, who’d sat out the match with Seattle after serving a one-match suspension. With Waston’s return this weekend, Whitecaps FC head coach Carl Robinson has the luxury of a fully fit squad to choose from, which could prove crucial as the team looks to continue their push for the payoffs and potentially beyond.
Are you looking forward to tomorrow's clash with Colorado? Let us know where you'll be watching the game in the comments section below.
On Saturday, we bid farewell to Jay DeMerit.
It will be a sad day for everyone involved with the club. After all, Jay was the first player signed by the ‘Caps after our entrance into Major League Soccer. He was our inaugural MLS captain and the heart and soul of the team over the course of the past four seasons.
Whilst he officially hung up his boots back in July, Saturday will give us all an opportunity to honour his contribution not only to the ‘Caps, but to soccer as a whole.
In celebration of his time in Vancouver (and beyond), we thought we’d crunch the numbers on the captain’s Cinderella-story of a career…
Ninth – The tier of English football in which Jay first started playing after moving to the UK in 2003.
70 – The amount (in dollars) that Jay earned per week after signing for Southall F.C.
183 – The number of games that DeMerit would go on to play for Watford after impressing the English club in a pre-season friendly. The American represented the team in both the Championship and the Premier League, as well as the latter stages of the illustrious FA Cup.
9 – The number of goals he scored during his time at Watford, including this all important header that helped the Hornets on their way to a 3-0 victory in the playoff final.
25 – The number of times DeMerit has been capped by the U.S. men’s national team. The central defender made his debut against Guatemala on March 28, 2007 and went on to represent his country at the 2007 CONCACAF Gold Cup, the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup and the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
5 – The number of stitches that Jay required after splitting his tongue during his team’s 1-0 victory over Algeria at the 2010 FIFA World Cup. The defender finished the game despite his injury.
77 – The number of appearances that the skipper made in all competitions after signing for the ‘Caps.
68 – The minute in which Jay scored his first MLS goal during the ‘Caps first-ever road win.
19,236 – The number of people in attendance when DeMerit played in the 2012 MLS All Star Game.
Come and say goodbye to the captain at Saturday’s game vs. Colorado Rapids. Limited tickets are still available. Visit www.whitecapsfc.com/tickets for more information.
Saturday was a big day for the ‘Caps.
The stalemate in San Jose ensured the club are in control of their own playoff destiny heading into Saturday’s regular season finale vs. Colorado Rapids. It also ensured the ‘Caps remain unbeaten in their past four games, a run which has also seen them concede just the one goal. Throw in qualification to the CONCACAF Champions League for the first time in the club’s history and there was plenty for fans to talk about over the weekend.
Don’t worry if you missed out on the cyber chit-chat however, as we’ve gathered together the best Tweets and photos from the past two days...
The day started off well, with Toronto’s draw against Montreal ensuring that the ‘Caps qualified for the CONCACAF Champions League for the first time. The fans were understandably excited.
— Mag Manhas (@mag_manhas) October 18, 2014
— John Mathew (@johnalunil) October 18, 2014
— Ryan (@ryr12r) October 18, 2014
CONCACAF qualification however was just an appetizer for a big night of MLS action in San Jose. And whilst it may be a 1500km journey, that didn’t stop the #CapsonTour from making the pilgrimage to watch the team play in California.
29th Whitecaps away trip begins now. Next stop San Francisco and 3 points from San Jose Saturday. #CapsOnTour #VWFC
— Anna (@annanamshirin) October 19, 2014
The man, the legend, @JoeCannonGK1 . #VWFC #capsontour #ShootJoeCannonoutofaCannon
And they were in good voice…
— Vancouver Whitecaps (@WhitecapsFC) October 19, 2014
It was also a big night for San Jose native Steven Beitashour, who played four seasons for the Quakes before joining Whitecaps FC. The ‘Caps fullback had 150 friends and family in the crowd and even had the honour of leading the pre-match team talk.
San Jose native Steven Beitashour gives the prematch talk. Kickoff is next! #VWFC
As the final whistle blew, the ‘Caps left Buck Shaw Stadium with their playoff destiny still very much in their own hands.
— Vancouver Whitecaps (@WhitecapsFC) October 19, 2014
The ‘Caps had David Ousted to thank for their clean sheet. It was the Great Dane’s 12th shutout of the season.
— Rob Hodkinson (@RobHodkinson) October 19, 2014
By the end of the day ‘Caps fans were already looking forward to Saturday’s crucial clash with Colorado.
So win next week and we’re in? Excellent. Warm those vocal chords, everyone!!!!!! #VWFC
— Alberto Hernandez (@bertohernandez_) October 19, 2014
— Christopher (@grandmasterc) October 19, 2014
— Andrew Ngo (@doods1484) October 19, 2014
See you on the 25th!
Participate in the best sporting experience in Vancouver! 2015 Whitecaps FC Season Tickets are on sale now. In addition to Season Tickets, Whitecaps FC offer a flexible range of ticket products, including Half-Season Packs, 5-Packs, Student Half-Season Tickets, and a Youth Soccer Half-Season Ticket. For more information on 2015 Season Tickets, visit whitecapsfc.com/tickets.