Embrace the challenge

Carl outlines upcoming opportunities for the 'Caps

Over the next couple of weeks our Vancouver Whitecaps FC can tick off a few boxes of things that we have never done before. And with the ‘Caps being the only active pro sports team in town right now, the boys have a big opportunity to gain some really positive momentum.

We have four huge games coming with three big achievements possible.

  1. First thing’s first, LA Galaxy on Saturday at BC Place. We have yet to beat the Galaxy since we joined MLS. They are the top club in the league, the Manchester United of MLS, having won the last two MLS Cups. We need to get over that hump to build that confidence that we can hang with the very best.
  2. Next accomplishment would be beating our Cascadia rivals, Portland Timbers, for the first time in MLS on May 18. This Rose City team has been a real thorn in our side, beating us in both matches at BC Place so far. It’s about time we got some redemption.
  3. Third, and perhaps most important, is to win the Amway Canadian Championship for the first time and lift the Voyageurs Cup. We play the first match away in Montreal on May 15, then back at BC Place on May 29 with a chance to take the title in front of our home fans.

As a player, these are the opportunities you can only dream and want to be a part of, because right now we can really get Vancouver fired up about our team. The Canucks are unfortunately out of the playoffs and the BC Lions don’t start up for a number of weeks.

We have the sporting market to ourselves, which I believe we will embrace with some thrilling performances and positive results.

We all know our struggles on the road, but the next two games are at home where our form has been good. Winning those two games versus the Galaxy and Portland would build enormous momentum and really kick start our season and put the past troubles behind us.

After seeing our last performance against Real Salt Lake you may be a bit dismissive. But we only need to look back at last year to a period from late July to early August when we played some of our best soccer.

Ironically, the first match was at home to this very same LA Galaxy. In front of an excellent crowd, the boys were energized and took a 2-0 lead. Though it ended 2-2, it was a very exciting match to watch and a real momentum booster.

The second game was a thrilling 2-1 victory over San Jose Earthquakes, who went on to win the Supporters Shield with the most points in the regular season.

After losing on the road to Real Salt Lake in the third game of that stretch, we returned home to beat that same RSL team 2-1 with another stellar performance.

This is the kind of run we need now and I’m convinced we can do it again.

If you are going to be a top team, you have to relish these kinds of opportunities, and I know we have the players that can respond and put together some inspired performances. There is no doubt that we are a different team at home and we seem to respond well to playing the top teams at BC Place.

Together, we can make this a memorable time in the history of our club. It’s not going to be easy, but it’s something we should all embrace.