It’s that time of year again.
As the calendar gets set to turn to 2022, we’re looking back at some of the top Vancouver Whitecaps FC moments from 2021.
Kicking things off are the moments of joy from the beautiful game we all live for, the goals.
The ‘Caps registered a total of 45 strikes during the season, tallying the club's highest total since 2018 and scoring some pretty good ones at that.
Fans chose the top four in this list, as well as the winner, by voting in a series of BMO Goal of the Year Twitter polls.
Before we dive into the top four, honourable mentions go out to Déiber Caicedo’s first MLS goal against Houston Dynamo FC, Cristian Dájome’s calm finish against LA Galaxy, Ryan Gauld’s first-time volley against Sporting KC and Brian White’s left-footed strike against Minnesota United FC, all of whom were part of the voting process but did not make the final four.
- FLEX PASS: Newly available this season is a Whitecaps FC Flex Pass, offering fans the opportunity to pick their own matches, enjoy savings, and unlock upgrades and benefits. For more information visit www.whitecapsfc.com/flex.
On June 26, the ‘Caps faced their Cascadia rivals Seattle Sounders FC, claiming a point with a 2-2 draw in the hostile atmosphere of Lumen Field.
The first goal from the Blue and White, which brought the game level at 1-1 just after the halftime interval, came through Cristian Dájome.
As Dájome darted in between Seattle’s right wing back and right centre back, midfielder Caio Alexandre was able to pick out the Colombian’s run with a fantastic ball over the top to put Seattle’s backline into plenty of panic.
The moment of chaos forced Seattle goalkeeper Stefan Cleveland to come off his line to pressure Dájome, who smartly dinked the ball away from the onrushing Cleveland and calmly side footed the ball into the back of the net to give the ‘Caps the equalizer.
It may seem like a fairly easy goal to put away, but once you break it all down, it’s an exceptional piece of play from Dájome to bring the ball down cleanly and remain composed in the situation.
It’s also worth mentioning the goal marked the first time Seattle conceded from open play in 2021, ending their 10-game run.
Up next on the list is another Colombian golazo.
This time it’s Déiber Caicedo’s incredible 60-yard run against the Portland Timbers at Providence Park, which kicked off the ‘Caps memorable 3-2 comeback win in October.
After Dájome wins the ball back from the Timbers, midfielder Janio Bikel plays a perfect line-breaking pass to Caicedo to start the counter attack for the Blue and White.
Caicedo turns on the jets to take advantage of the space ahead of him, dribbles past a couple of Timbers defenders and fires home a left-footed strike into the bottom left corner to bring the ‘Caps back into the match.
Despite the spectacular run and awareness of space from Caicedo, the goal is made possible thanks to the runs of Dájome and striker Brian White.
Looking at Dájome’s run, the Colombian is able to hold off Timbers midfielder Cristhian Paredes without fouling him to give Caicedo that much more time to use his space and fire a shot on goal.
As for White’s run, he makes a diagonal run to the far side of the field to bring Timbers defender Dario Zuparic away from goal, creating a wide open channel for Caicedo to run into.
It’s brilliant thinking and unselfishness from the pair to create chaos for the Timbers backline with just some simple movement, as well as the self-awareness from Caicedo to notice how much space he has to run into.
At number two on the list is Ryan Gauld’s first ‘Caps goal on his home debut against Los Angeles FC.
Gauld’s goal gave the Blue and White a last-gasp 2-1 victory in the first match at BC Place in front of fans in 539 days.
Yeah, that goal meant a lot.
In terms of the breakdown of the goal, it starts from a long switch of play from Bikel to quickly change the point of attack for the ‘Caps and put LAFC under pressure.
Substitute Ryan Raposo is able to bring the ball down to defender Javain Brown and then receives the ball back in plenty of space on the far side.
The combination of the two forces an overload on LAFC’s left side, meaning LAFC defender Raheem Edwards is outnumbered and has to make the decision of whether to follow Brown’s run in behind or step up to pressure Raposo.
In the end, Raposo has enough time to whip the perfect ball into the box for the late onrushing Gauld, who heads home to give the ‘Caps the lead and send the fans into ecstasy.
It’s surely a moment that will live long in the memory of every ‘Caps fan.
Topping the list and the winner of this season’s BMO Goal of the Year is Russell Teibert’s thundering half-volley from outside the box against Sporting Kansas City at BC Place.
The goal marked Teibert’s first goal since October 6, 2018 against Toronto FC and his first goal at BC Place since scoring his first two MLS goals against LA Galaxy on May 11, 2013.
Looking at the build-up of Teibert’s lovely strike, the ‘Caps captain wins the ball back in midfield and finds Gauld, who plays a nice one-two with Dájome and breaks away on the counter.
Gauld then manages to find White on the far side, who holds up the ball well while he searches for an option.
Sporting’s midfield isn’t tracking the runs of any ‘Caps players, allowing White to set up Teibert for the half-volley strike that sends BC Place into a frenzy.
With a full slate of home matches on tap for 2022, make sure you take advantage of the newly introduced Whitecaps FC Flex Pass, offering fans the opportunity to pick their own matches, enjoy savings, and unlock upgrades and benefits. For more information visit www.whitecapsfc.com/flex.