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.
We've already looked at the top goals of the year and now, we're set to breakdown the passes that make the goals happen, the assists.
The 'Caps had lots of exciting build-up play, exquisite crosses and line-breaking passes throughout the year which culminated in some fine finishes, so without further ado, let's dive right into the best assists from 2021.
Kicking our list off is Javain Brown's pin-point cross to the back post for Ryan Gauld to head in the 3-1 goal against Real Salt Lake at BC Place on August 29.
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The move starts with Leonard Owusu laying the ball off to Brown, who sprints into the open space left by RSL defender Ashtone Morgan and whips in the perfect ball to the back post for an on-rushing Gauld to head home into the bottom corner.
Overall, it's great awareness from Brown to notice how much space he has ahead of him to drive into, as well as notice the amount of space Gauld himself has in the area to pick him out with a delightful cross.
Credit has to go to Brian White on the play, too, for making a run to the near post to create the space in the middle of the box for Gauld to run into.
Up next is Cristian Dájome's left-footed cross for Érik Godoy's diving header against Austin FC at BC Place on September 4.
Dájome, operating as a left-wing back, dribbles past Austin FC's Tomas Pochettino and puts in a delicious ball with his less-favoured left foot right into the path of Godoy to head in his first goal of the season.
It may seem like the easiest of crosses to whip in, but considering it comes from Dájome's left foot and he's still able to get the ball right onto the head of Godoy is incredible, not to mention the Colombian also created the space for himself to cross the ball by getting past Pochettino with a clever dribble.
At number three on our list is Russell Teibert's threaded through ball for Dájome's calm, left-footed finish against Minnesota United FC at Rio Tinto Stadium on July 31.
Looking at the play as a whole, it starts with Teibert playing a neat one-two with Michael Baldisimo, who splits Minnesota's midfield with a lovely line-breaking pass to White.
While Baldisimo gets the ball to White, Teibert follows up the play, makes a run into space to receive the ball from White and calmly plays a first-time pass to Dájome in behind the Minnesota backline for a tidy finish to give the 'Caps the 1-0 advantage.
It's an all-around brilliant move from the Blue and White capped off by a perfect ball into space from Teibert to give Dájome a chance at goal.
Coming in at second on our best assists of the year is Gauld's cut-back for White's game-winning goal against Minnesota at BC Place on October 27.
It's another great piece of build-up play from the 'Caps as Brown finds Gauld in plenty of space in between Minnesota's midfield and backline.
From there, the Scot combines with Dájome to play a neat one-two and then cuts the ball back for White to fire a left-footed finish into the bottom corner.
What's brilliant about the goal is how quickly the 'Caps were able to create a high expected goals chance for White inside the box, which came thanks to four simple passes and some decisive movement in the final third.
Gauld's cut-back to White isn't as easy as it seems either, as he's able to play it right into the path of the American while eliminating four Minnesota defenders from the play with the assist.
Rounding off our best assists of 2021 is White's smart pull-back for Dájome's game winner against LA Galaxy at Rio Tinto Stadium on July 17.
As the 'Caps burst away on the counter, Déiber Caicedo plays it out wide for White, who takes some of the space ahead of him and crosses the ball into the middle for Dájome.
Then, the Colombian takes his time to bring a couple of Galaxy defenders towards him to open up space for a pass to White.
With the amount of space he has, White could easily have a go at goal himself but instead, decides to fake the shot (bringing several Galaxy defenders to the ground, spectacularly) and play the ball right back to Dájome for the easy finish to give the 'Caps the lead.
It's the type of unselfish play you love to see from your attackers and a very smart piece of improvisation from White to fake the shot to give Dájome a better chance at giving the 'Caps the all important advantage late on.
There's sure to be plenty more incredible assists from the 'Caps at BC Place in 2022, so make sure you don't miss out with 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.