It's hard to imagine today's USL First Division championship game meaning more to anyone than it does to the Whitecaps' core of decade-plus local veterans.
After all, it marks the first career chance for them to win a title on home turf, in front of family and friends who couldn't make the trek to Rochester in 2006, and of course in front of their hometown fans.
"I've been dreaming about it for 12 years now," said forward Jason Jordan.
But to a select group of those fans, the hard-core supporters like the Southsiders -- ever-present behind the south goal, razzing the visiting goalie and cheering on their boys -- this game means everything, too.
"We have been waiting so long for this moment and it looked like it might not happen," said Nazz Catania, a 46-year-old from Burnaby whose been around since the Lenaduzzi days in B.C. Place. "We were hopeful that we'd get [the final], even though we are playing the top team. "I think we were due." Around 75 Southsiders showed up in Seattle for the Whitecaps regular-season capper, and eight even showed up in Montreal when the Whitecaps and Impact christened Saputo Stadium. For the 2006 title tilt, a large group of Southsiders gathered at the Shark Club in Burnaby.
"It was awesome," Catania said of that night. "We were all celebrating in the bar -- great memories." No doubt today's live performance has the chance to top that.
© The Vancouver Province 2008