Almost all the right moves - The Province
If United Soccer Leagues organizers want to maximize the entertainment value of this quarterfinal series between the Vancouver Whitecaps and Minnesota Thunder, they might consider a slight tweak to the tie-break procedure.
Try two 15-minute overtimes, followed by penalty kicks, followed by a dance-off between Whitecaps forward Nick Addlery and Thunder midfielder Stephen deRoux.
"Oh, man, you saw that?" Addlery said of last year's impromptu locker-room contest between the former D.C. United teammates that reached Zoolander-like levels and now lives on YouTube.
"They put that on TV for a whole week in the D.C. area. American Idol was coming up and the local media did it to see who has talent. Guys dancing like raving idiots. It was bad."
Addlery and deRoux became fast friends with the Major League Soccer side in 2007. Both are Jamaican, and both enjoy clowning around. They know each other's families a little bit and always hang out when their teams square off.
"He's like a big brother to me," said deRoux, who recently became a dad. "There's only two years between us [deRoux is 24] but he's a lot more experienced than I am. He brings a lot of heart to the team, he's a hard worker and he's somebody that I would want to learn from."
Age is just a number to Addlery. "I don't know about little brother, I just see him as my brother," he said.
That's not to say they don't get combative come game day -- pre-game texts, trash talk on the field. There's no shortage of ammunition for the pair, either.
DeRoux was destined to join Addlery in Vancouver this season, but negotiations stalled and Minnesota swept in. And the seventh-place Thunder caused the Whitecaps considerable trouble this regular season -- their 0-0 draw on Sept. 7 arguably costing Vancouver first place.
"Playing against Minnesota, there's no better way to kick off the playoffs for me," said Addlery, who doesn't begrudge deRoux's decision. "Soccer's a business. Even though we looked at it as us playing together in Vancouver, things happen. He's happy where he's at and I'm happy where I'm at."
This series shouldn't actually come down to any sort of tie-breaker. Justin Moose saw to that with an 89th-minute tally that capped a 2-0 win for Vancouver in the two-game, aggregate-goal series opener Friday night.
But, just for fun, who would win the dance off?
"I'm definitely going to have to say I would," said deRoux. "That's one thing I think I'm better at. He might have everything else, but I'm going to have to take the dancing."
© The Vancouver Province 2008