On Sunday, October 2, a new chapter in the history of Whitecaps FC will be written when the club play their first Major League Soccer match in the newly-renovated BC Place stadium. In the build-up to the Blue and White's return to downtown Vancouver, whitecapsfc.com takes a look at the major soccer events that have been staged at BC Place since the stadium's first opening 28 years ago. Today, we look at the first sporting event to be held at BC Place - a North American Soccer League (NASL) clash between the Whitecaps and Seattle Sounders on June 20, 1983.
Hopes were high in 1983 that the Whitecaps could win a second NASL championship title, with BC Place hosting the NASL's Soccer Bowl final later that year. Led by former Leeds United and Republic of Ireland star Johnny Giles, the 'Caps made an impressive start to the season, winning 10 of their first 11 league games before moving into their new home. This included four home wins to close out the club's era at the old Empire Stadium.
Having been given the honour to stage the first sporting event in the new stadium, it seemed fitting that Pacific Northwest rivals Seattle made the short trip up Interstate 5 to help raise the curtain on Vancouver's new landmark. A sold-out crowd of 60,342 took in the match, and they did not go home disappointed, as future England international Peter Beardsley scored his third and fourth goals of the season in a 2-1 victory over the Sounders. American striker Mark Peterson replied for Seattle in a losing effort.
It was a fitting way to open BC Place and an exciting year of sport in Vancouver in 1983. Not only was the Soccer Bowl taking place in early October, the stadium would also host its first Grey Cup game for the Canadian Football League (CFL) championship on November 27.