It was one of the hottest tickets of the summer in Vancouver – a visit by David Beckham and the star-studded LA Galaxy to take on Vancouver Whitecaps FC in a crucial MLS Western Conference encounter.
Most times, the hype and anticipation of a live sporting event is balanced by what unfolds during that event. Wednesday night, however, Whitecaps FC and the Galaxy took full advantage of the energized atmosphere at BC Place by offering more great moments to the 2012 MLS season catalogue.
From a soccer standpoint, the match was a tale of two halves. Whitecaps FC set the initiative by taking a two-goal lead into the halftime break before the Galaxy showed the heart of defending MLS Cup champions to earn something from their lone regular season visit to Vancouver.
The game likely left those who watched it live, on television, or online in one of three categories. For passionate Whitecaps FC fans, there was disappointment at being held at home, while Galaxy supporters would have been relieved to earn a late point on the road.
The third category may have been the more popular one, as the midweek clash left people fully entertained and fulfilled by the gallant efforts of both clubs. Yet, unlike the experience of a satisfying meal, Wednesday’s match will have fans hungry for more soccer entertainment in Vancouver.
There were likely some first-time visitors to a Whitecaps FC game at BC Place on Wednesday night, and depending on their level of knowledge of soccer, the club, and MLS, it proved an outstanding advert for new converts.
Much credit must go to the home side, who showed spirit and application to take the game to their high-profile guests. In particular, some key individual performances made Whitecaps FC fans jump out of their seats!
Fully deserving of the ‘Budweiser Man of the Match’ award, Gershon Koffie played with determination against LA. He deserved more than the one goal he actually scored, while his eagerness to create openings for Darren Mattocks and home debutant Dane Richards was a positive sign for the future.
The young Ghanaian also deserves praise for his defensive work, particularly in the first half, as he did well to nullify the threat that was David Beckham in central midfield.
It was in midfield that another of the ‘Caps top performers offered his new fans a taste of his influential abilities. Using the recent extended road trip to gain his match fitness, Barry Robson might have become the new hero in Van City.
His first-half goal was superbly taken, while his efforts to score again brought BC Place to life in the dying stages. With each match under his belt, Robson is proving to be a talismanic character in Martin Rennie’s side. At the very least, Robson would have been full of adrenaline from the crowd reactions to his efforts on Wednesday night.
And what of his fellow countryman Kenny Miller, who watched his new club from the press box? He must be itching to have a chance to experience the BC Place atmosphere on Sunday when San Jose Earthquakes pay a visit.
It is a bit difficult to sum up Wednesday’s match, but maybe the opinion of one broadcaster at the end of the game offers the best assessment. In his mind, a Whitecaps FC match at BC Place is the best live sporting event you can attend in Vancouver. When you assess our home games this season, the above argument has plenty of evidence to support it.
If you missed out on Wednesday’s soccer fireworks, you only need to wait four more days before another Whitecaps FC match takes place in downtown Vancouver.
Top MLS club San Jose make the visit this weekend, and if the events of May 5 are anything to go by, we are all in for a real soccer treat!
We hope to see you Sunday!