Year-in-Review: The best of Whitecaps FC

YIR - Best of Whitecaps FC

VANCOUVER, BC - With 2015 fast approaching, it's not only time to look forward, but a chance to look back on the year that was.

Having already crowned the 2014 Goal of the Year presented by Budweiser, and 2014 Save of the Year presented by Canadian Direct, now we get to look at some other great moments that made up an exciting 2014 MLS season for Vancouver Whitecaps FC. 

1. Best “Welcome to MLS” moment: Sebastian Fernandez/Pedro Morales/Carl Robinson (March 8 vs. New York Red Bulls)

The set-up: In his first match as Whitecaps FC's new head coach, Carl Robinson started off as well as one could hope. Not only did Robbo come in and earn a convincing 4-1 win over his former club, it was players the brought in that led the way. Fernandez and Morales combined for two goals and an assist in their MLS debuts, getting the 'Caps off on the right foot in the 2014 season opener. 

2. Best foreshadowing: Amway Canadian Championship (May 7 vs. Toronto FC)

The set-up: Robbo gave fans a glimpse of the future in the 2014 Amway Canadian Championship, particularly in the first leg at BMO Field. With Niagara Falls, Ontario native Russell Teibert wearing the captain's armband, the 'Caps trotted out a starting XI featuring five Canadians: Teibert, 20-year-old midfielder Bryce Alderson, 18-year-old midfielders Marco Bustos and Kianz Froese, and 17-year-old goalkeeper Marco Carducci. In the first ACC match, the 'Caps XI had an average age of 22.11 years and featured only two players over the age of 24.  

3. Best assist: Russell Teibert to Darren Mattocks (July 16 vs. Toronto FC)

The set-up: Coming out of the break after a scoreless draw, Teibert didn't waste much time getting the attack going. After receiving a ball from Pedro Morales down the left flank, Teibert delivered a brilliant cross, threading the needle between three opposing defenders to Darren Mattocks, who made no mistake. 

4. Best ball-handling: Pedro Morales (July 27 vs. FC Dallas)

The set-up: Morales' performance against FC Dallas might have been his finest of the season. The Chilean dominated to the tune of 12 shots (more than any other player since OPTA started tracking MLS stats in 2011), six created chances, 66 completed passes, and 110 touches. Five of those touches came on the play below, as Morales demonstrated his deft ball skills by crossing up Dallas midfielder Adam Moffat.

5. Best tweet:
@JordanCHarvey (September 20 vs. Portland Timbers)
The set-up: 
Following a disastrous 3-0 loss to Portland Timbers on September 20, defender Jordan Harvey sent out a reassuring tweet to the fans. Turns out Harvey isn't just a talented left back, but also a pretty good psychic. The defender's "We'll bounce back" prediction came true in full, as the 'Caps went on a 4W-0L-1D run to end the season from that point forward, forcing their way into the playoffs on the final day of the season. 

6. Best tribute: Domenic Mobilio (October 4 vs. FC Dallas)

The set-up: The fourth and final inductee into Whitecaps FC's Ring of Honour this season, striker Domenic Mobilio was the subject of a beautiful tribute in a pre-game ceremony before the 'Caps took on FC Dallas on October 4. Mobilio is the club's all-time leader in goals, with 170, and played 15 seasons between the 86ers and 'Caps, including a strectch between 1988 and 1991 where he helped lead the club to four straight Canadian Soccer League Championships. Mobilio passed away from a heart attack on November 13, 2004.

7. Best tackle: Matias Laba (October 4 vs. FC Dallas)

The set-up: During that same contest, defensive midfielder Matias Laba might have provided the defensive play of the season for the 'Caps. Up 2-0 and carrying all the momentum, FC Dallas used a quick counterattack to get forward David Texeira open in space. He wasn't open for long, though, as Laba came out of nowhere to deliver the most spectacular of his league-leading 151 tackles.

8. Best team celebration: Cascadia Cup (October 10 vs. Seattle Sounders FC)

The set-up: Going into one of the most hostile environments in the league, facing down the top-ranked team, all while needing to win to keep their playoff hopes alive? No problem for the 'Caps, who marched into Seattle and pulled off a gutsy 1-0 win over Sounders FC. In doing so, the Blue and White also captured their second straight Cascadia Cup. To say the players were a bit excited afterwards might be a bit of an understatement.  

9. Best individual celebration: Kendall Waston (October 25 vs. Colorado)

The set-up: With 20 minutes left in their regular season, Whitecaps FC needed to break a scoreless draw with Colorado to earn a spot in the playoffs. Off a corner in the 70th minute, Kendall Waston stepped up and threw himself in front of a Morales ball, getting just enough to beat Rapids keeper Clint Irwin.The ensuing celebration from the towering Costa Rican was priceless.

10. Best haircut: Russell Teibert’s playoff masterpiece (October 29 vs. FC Dallas)

The Set-Up: 
The man of a thousand hairstyles saved his best for last in 2014. Neither the man-bun or the mohawk could top the 'do that Teibert sported before the playoff match against FC Dallas. - Always reppin that #VWFC @whitecapsfc & @martinrivard @barberandco

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