If you don’t watch Vancouver Whitecaps FC play their next MLS game at BBVA Compass Stadium versus Houston Dynamo, you could miss the ‘Caps ending a very impressive streak.
On Saturday, Vancouver will look to become the first team to win at Houston’s new home (5:30 p.m. PT, Sportsnet Pacific, Bell mobile devices, TEAM 1410 or teamradio.ca). The Dynamo have never lost at BBVA Compass Stadium and are currently on a 26-match home unbeaten streak in MLS play – second longest ever to Real Salt Lake’s 29-match run. Including all competitions, their streak stands at 32 matches without a defeat. 18 clubs have tried and failed.
That’s a very impressive record, and it got me thinking of some other impressive unbeaten streaks:
VANCOUVER 86ers – 1988-89 – 46 matches unbeaten (North American pro sports record)
What better place to start than with our very own soccer club. Between 1988-89, when the club was known as Vancouver 86ers, a team including yours truly went on a run of 46 games without losing (37 wins and nine ties). To this day, that streak holds as the longest undefeated streak in North American pro sports history. It eclipsed the Canadian record set by the 1978-79 Montreal Canadians (28), the North American standard established by the 1979-80 Philadelphia Flyers (36), and even the English soccer record from Nottingham Forest of 42 matches without losing.
Not too shabby.
2013 has so far been a year of big streaks in both the NHL and NBA as well:
MIAMI HEAT – 2013-Present – 24 wins in a row, and counting
The Miami Heat are currently on quite the roll of their own. The Heat have won 24 straight games, second only to the 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers who went 33 games without losing.
With LeBron James in top form, it’s hard to imagine this streak ending anytime soon.
CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS – 2013 – 24 games unbeaten-in-regulation
With a late start to the season due to the lockout, many players around the NHL could have come into the year a little bit rusty and not ready. That was definitely not the case for the Chicago Blackhawks, who started the season by gaining at least a point in each of their first 24 games.
As far as soccer goes, these teams have produced some memorable runs:
· ASEC from Abidjan, Ivory Coast is often credited with the longest streak at 108 games without a loss between 1989 and 1994
· In Europe, the record belongs to Steaua Bucharest, a club that went 106 matches without a loss in the Romanian league between 1986 and 1989
· The run of AC Milan of 58 games unbeaten between 1991 and 1993 has to be the most impressive. At the time the Serie A was the wealthiest and most competitive league in the world. Italian clubs contributed to 17 of the 36 finalists in Europe’s three major competitions.
· The 2003-04 English Premier League season saw the great Arsenal team – led by Thierry Henry – go the whole season (38 games) without losing, which gave them the nickname the Invincibles. The following season they would extend their unbeaten run to 49 games before being defeated by my beloved Manchester United
If our ‘Caps can go into Houston and end this streak, it could give them a real boost as they look to become an elite team in MLS.