VANCOUVER, BC – Vancouver Whitecaps FC will celebrate its 40th anniversary in 2014 and what better way to kick it off than with a nearly 40-year-old rivalry.
Whitecaps FC will open their 2014 campaign against New York Red Bulls March 8 at BC Place. Although the rivalry between the two Major League Soccer sides is still early days – in four meetings Vancouver is undefeated with one win and three draws – a long-standing grudge exists between the two cities.
Here's a look at some of the more memorable moments and numbers from the old NASL days.
2 – Two Goals, Two Cards
This number stands for the amount of goals scored by the 'Caps in the first home playoff leg against the Cosmos on August 29, 1979. It also stands for the amount of goals they scored in the second away leg of the playoffs, for that matter.
But what does it mean to New York? They earned two red card send-offs in that first leg. The first one came only minutes after Vancouver’s second goal when Cosmos defender Andranik Eskandarian apparently kicked forward Kevin Hector. The second was after the final whistle when defender Carlos Alberto threw his shirt and spat at the linesman.
214 – That’s 3 hours and 34 minutes
Thanks to the always interesting NASL rules, the final ‘Caps-Cosmos match lasted a full three hours and 34 minutes. How did this happen?
Here’s the breakdown: after regular time, the two teams were tied 2-2. This resulted in a mini-game that ended in a scoreless draw. They went to a shootout that the Cosmos finally won. Since this win tied the series and there were no aggregate or away goal rules, the series would be decided by yet another mini-game.
After a second 0-0 draw, the game went to another round of penalty kicks, which saw Vancouver emerge victorious.
21 – Carl Valentine’s number
Number 21 almost ended the game early for the Cosmos. In the second mini-game, Carl Valentine’s strike hit the underside of the crossbar and down off the line. The referee pointed to centre field, counting it as a goal – but the Cosmos protested by means of physically shaking the linesman who made the call. They got their point across and the goal was disallowed.
1979 – The Year of the 'Caps
The year 1979 will always bring fond memories for any fan of Whitecaps FC from back in the day. The season before was the club's breakout season on and off the field and in just their sixth year of existence the 'Caps, from the "Village of Vancouver," a reference by legendary sportscaster Jim McKay that became a rallying cry for the Blue and White, won the North American Soccer League title in the New York Cosmos’ back yard.
After successfully navagating through the semifinals against the heavily-favoured Cosmos in a thrilling playoff series, Vancouver met the Tampa Bay Rowdies on September 8, 1979 in the Soccer Bowl final. With a 2-1 win, the Blue and White earned Vancouver’s professional soccer scene its first-ever piece of silverware.
Upon Vancouver’s return home, an unprecedented 100,000 fans headed into downtown for the parade to celebrate Whitecaps FC’s historic moment.
Vancouver Whitecaps FC will kick off their fourth season in Major League Soccer on March 8, 2014, against defending Supporters Shield winners New York Red Bulls at BC Place. With the schedule now announced, Whitecaps FC have launched two gift packs just in time for the holiday season. Whitecaps FC holiday gift packs features four tickets to either of the first two home matches along with a copy of EA SPORTS FIFA 2014 for Playstation 3 or Xbox 360 for only $125. To purchase a gift pack visit whitecapsfcshop.com.
Whitecaps FC 2014 season tickets are also on sale and start at just $349, subject to applicable fees. The 'Caps are offering 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). Half-season and 5-pack purchasers can now select their matches for the upcoming season. For more information on all 'Caps ticket options, call 604.669.9283 ext. 2 or visit whitecapsfc.com/tickets.