Whitecaps: what a weekend - 24 Hours


By BOB MACKIN

THE BUZZ:

David Lam Park was a field of dreams on the last Saturday of summer for Steve Nash and friends' Showdown in Downtown charity soccer match.

STEVIE WONDER:

Two-time NBA MVP Nash scored three goals for his Coast Capital Savings-sponsored team in a 10-5 win over the BC Hydro side. Nash's blue-shirts included Memphis Grizzlies' tall Tanzanian rookie Hasheem Thabeet, who netted a pair. Frenchman Youri Djorkaeff, a 1998 World Cup and 2000 European Cup winner, scored the prettiest goal on a banana kick from midfield that fooled Whitecaps' backup goalkeeper Simon Thomas.

FIVE-THOUSAND:

Producer Brand.Live Group estimated 5,000 people attended the free eight-aside game and festival. Nash's father John saw action, but injured brother Martin didn't. Beijing 2008 gold medal rower and Right to Play campaigner Adam Kreek was in the crowd.

SHADING THE STARS:

The Whitecaps ended the United Soccer Leagues' regular season with a 2-1 win over the Cleveland City Stars Friday at Swangard Stadium. Charles Gbeke and Marlon James scored. Teteh Bangura had Cleveland's goal. The clubs had a combined 13 Africa-born players.

CHUCK CHAT:

"(The Stars) lack a bit of experience, but they're young, athletic," said Ivory Coast-born Gbeke, who scored his league-leading 12th goal. "They have this African flavour, a little bit wild."

PLAYOFF PICTURE:

The seventh-place Caps begin defence of their 2008 first-division championship Thursday when they host the second-place Carolina RailHawks. The two-game, total goals series ends Sept. 27 in Cary, N.C.