celebrate san jose

Last-minute magic

It seems the 'Caps have taken a liking to scoring late in recent home matches. In the last five minutes of their past three games at BC Place, they've scored four goals, including three in the final minute. One Whitecaps FC player seems to have an especially strong love for late heroics. Carl Valentine explains:

Eric Hassli certainly has a flair for dramatic moments. As head coach Martin Rennie pointed out, he does not score many tap-in goals; most of his goals are in spectacular fashion. On top of that, it seems he saves his best goals for the most important moments. That’s two straight massive stoppage time goals for Hassli in games against MLS teams at BC Place, and it wouldn’t surprise me if we had another spectacular finish this Saturday against Seattle Sounders FC.


We all remember the goal last year against Seattle (that should have been Goal of the Year) when Hassli scored a spectacular swiveling volley to tie the game 2-2 with less than ten minutes to go. It was a goal of pure genius. You have to have a lot of belief in yourself to even attempt a shot like he did, never mind pull it off.

So what did he do in his most recent moment of brilliance? Score another spectacular volley in injury time to tie the first leg of the Amway Canadian Championship Final 1-1 versus Toronto FC. The goal started with a quick free kick taken by Alain Rochat on the left half of the field just around the halfway line. He played the ball to Davide Chuminento and made a run forward. After receiving the ball back from Davide he took a couple of touches before delivering a pinpoint cross to the edge of the area for a waiting Hassli. The big man adjusted his body and proceeded to volley the ball with such force that it looked as if the back of the net might stretch all the way to the stands.

Now some may feel that there was luck involved, and that the ball could have ended up anywhere in the stadium. Well let me tell you folks that I was at training a couple of days before the match and watched as Sébastian Le Toux crossed balls into the box for Hassli to volley into the net. This went on for a good 15 to 20 minutes, so when Eric lined up to volley the ball I just knew it was destined for the back of the net.

Once again he showed great confidence in his striking ability and a flair for the dramatic. The big man does not do fluky goals. After all, practice makes perfect.

And what a time for perfection.

Tickets remain available for Saturday's huge soccer day at BC Place, as the UEFA Champions League Final between Bayern Munich and Chelsea will be shown on the big screen at 11:45 a.m. PT, followed by Whitecaps FC hosting Pacific Northwest rivals Seattle Sounders FC at 2 p.m. PT. To find tickets, visit ticketmaster.ca/whitecapsfc.

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