Timing everything for reeling Whitecaps - Vancouver Sun


BY IAN WALKER

NEXT GAME

Saturday vs. Puerto Rico Islanders

7 p.m. at Swangard Stadium

SHAW

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Social etiquette teaches us that if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything. While the principle is good in theory, it would make for a very short read about the Vancouver Whitecaps.

The defending United Soccer Leagues First Division champions sit in the bottom half of the standings -- two games below .500 at the season's midway point -- with just two wins in their last nine league games. And off the pitch, things haven't been much better. The storied soccer side released defender Wesley Charles on Wednesday for lashing out at a teammate for the second time in six weeks.

So it's a good thing then that the Whitecaps will honour Canadian Soccer Hall of Fame inductees Neil Ellett and Bob Sawtell along with members of the 1986 Canadian men's national team before Saturday's game against the Puerto Rico Islanders at Swangard Stadium. At the very least it gives us something positive to talk about.

The '86 World Cup squad is this year's recipient of the Hall's Team of Distinction Award and boasts several former Whitecaps, including head coach Tony Waiters, team manager Les Wilson, captain Bruce Wilson and Bobby Lenarduzzi.

Ellett, a longtime national team member, is one of four players to have his name immortalized and will be remembered for scoring the Caps' first goal on May 5, 1974.

Sawtell enters as a builder after a distinguished career as a top-level referee.

Getting back to the game, there is one thing in the Whitecaps' favour: Vancouver has yet to lose at home to the Islanders since Puerto Rico entered the league in 2005. Anything less on Saturday and fans may not be willing to mind their manners.

iwalker@vancouversun.com

www.twitter.com/WalkerBig Talker

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