VANCOUVER, BC – “Remember how it felt.”
Those are the exact words Carl Robinson used when addressing the team on the first day of preseason back in January. The ‘Caps manager, of course, was referencing Vancouver Whitecaps FC’s heartbreaking playoff defeat to FC Dallas, which was exactly one year ago today.
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You surely haven’t forgotten how that ended, but here’s a refresher if you need one.
Highlights from last year's heartbreaking playoff defeat
Vancouver struggled to get anything going in the first half and went down a goal in the 40th minute, but it was a different story after the break. After creating several chances, Erik Hurtado brought the game level for the visiting ‘Caps in the 64th minute.
The way Vancouver was playing, a go-ahead goal seemed inevitable.
Then, disaster struck.
FC Dallas was awarded a late penalty after a controversial handball call on Whitecaps FC centre back Kendall Waston – and the rest is history.
Many players were in tears after the match. Mauro Rosales, the most experienced of them all, was “balling his eyes out,” Robinson said at the time.
The ‘Caps felt hard done by.
They were broken.
That’s the feeling Robinson wanted his team to remember.
He knew how much it hurt – and he wanted his young group of players to use it as fuel for the upcoming season. It has worked so far.
The ‘Caps finished third in MLS and are off to the Western Conference semifinals, where they will meet either Portland Timbers or Seattle Sounders FC.
But they still haven’t forgotten about what happened last year.
On Wednesday, Waston told reporters that he has watched the PK call “almost a thousand times.”
“Now I could laugh,” he said. “Before I was crying.”
“(Robinson) is one that tells us,” Waston added. “Always remember those feelings because those feelings can make you stronger.”
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