What we learned vs. San Jose Earthquakes

Rising to the challenge, a special player, and a night of celebration

Manneh closeup TWO ONE

Photo Credit: 
Bob Frid/Vancouver Whitecaps FC

On a night of celebration, our ‘Caps came storming out of the gate to take 3-0 lead after only 20 minutes. San Jose came back strong but could only manage two goals as Whitecaps FC came away with a deserved 3-2 victory.

So, what did we learn?

Rising to the challenge

Highlights: Vancouver Whitecaps FC 3-2 San Jose Earthquakes

The last few weeks, the ‘Caps started a little slow and then battled back to earn dramatic come-from-behind draws against Real Salt Lake and LA Galaxy.

One of Whitecaps FC head coach Carl Robinson’s comments was: “It’s easy to play when you’re losing the game. They played with no fear when we were 2-0 down, but I want them to play that way from the start of the game.”

Well, they certainly rose to the challenge.

In the first 30-40 minutes of this game, Robinson’s side played some of the best soccer we’ve seen at BC Place and stormed out to a 3-0 lead, which could have been five or six. It wasn’t that San Jose was not very good, it’s more that we were extremely good, The Earthquakes wanted to pressure us but the passing was so quick and precise that it opened up large holes in their defence.

This was a young team on the field – the likes of Kekuta Manneh and Sebastian Fernandez looked extremely dangerous – that is going to get better and better as the season roles along.

That first half-hour again showed the quality we have this year. It showed how hungry these players are for success and that when they’re on their game, they will cause problems for any Major League Soccer team.

Special player

Watch Pedro Morales' second goal in slow motion

A few weeks ago, I sat in the office of Ed Georgica (Whitecaps FC’s head equipment manager) and Pedro Morales walked in and innocently asked me if I had played before.

Ed laughingly began to tell him how I was a former player who had his jersey retired some years ago. Pedro’s response was that he wanted to have his jersey retired so he could be like me. And guess what? Number 77 might get his wish with more performances like he had against San Jose.

Morales showed once again what a special player he is and if he’s not a fan-favourite already, it won’t take much longer. His vision and awareness were on display again, as he sprayed the ball all over BC Place. And from the first minute, you could see he was on a mission to score – which he did twice within the span of 57 seconds.

Who knows if his jersey will ever be retired, but there’s no doubt he’ll be a player everybody remembers.

A night of celebration

The inaugural '74 'Caps team poses for a photo prior to the match

In Robinson’s press conference after the game, he said to the reporters that he told the players to put on a performance for the fans and the occasion and they certainly did that. BC Place was once again the place to be for fun, excitement and good soccer.

In celebration of the club’s 40th anniversary, we had an alumni event that saw many past Whitecaps players and staff – men and women – join a number of Vancouver 86ers players and get reacquainted in what was a very festive atmosphere.

We got to honour and celebrate the 1974 team that played the first game against San Jose 40 years ago and my good friend Bob Lenarduzzi was the first inducted in the club’s new Ring of Honour. Part owner Steve Nash was also there to pump up the crowd and join in on the singing and chanting.

Whitecaps FC staff, media, and many fans dressed up from the ‘70s to make this night one to remember – both on and off the field. A lot of work went into this event and it was amazing how everybody embraced it to make it such a huge success.

We will all have some memorable moments from this night as we look back on a night to remember.

It’s not too late to participate in the best sporting experience in Vancouver. Whitecaps FC offer a flexible range of ticket products, including half-season tickets ($244), 5-packs ($149), student season tickets ($199), and a youth soccer half-season ticket ($100). Single-match tickets start at $22, subject to applicable fees. For more information on all Whitecaps FC ticket options, call 604.669.9283 ext. 2 or visit whitecapsfc.com/tickets.