VANCOUVER, BC – Where to start?
As you obviously know by now, Vancouver Whitecaps FC made history on Wednesday night at BC Place by winning the club’s first-ever Voyageurs Cup (awarded to the top team in Canada).
It was a truly special moment for the club – and the supporters, who have been waiting to hoist this trophy for 14 years. There were all sorts of talking points that came out of this one, but here are three in particular that stood out to me.
This championship clearly meant a lot to everyone involved in the club. That’s easy to see.
But you’d be hard pressed to find anyone who wanted it more than Canadian midfielder Russell Teibert, a Whitecaps FC Residency graduate who has been with the club since 2008.
It was fitting, therefore, that the 22-year-old wore the captain’s armband to conclude the match before lifting the trophy with skipper Pedro Morales.
“It’s about damn time we won it,” an emotional Teibert told reporters after the match. “I’m happy for the fans, happy for the club, and happy for the team.”
Teibert has found it difficult to crack the starting lineup as of late, with Gershon Koffie and Matias Laba in such good form. But Whitecaps FC head coach Carl Robinson said he sensed in training this week that Teibert “had a bit between his teeth,” which is why he gave him the nod.
“To be completely honest, as a Canadian I wanted to win this trophy,” Teibert said. “I grabbed the flag and put it on my back because I’m proud to be a Canadian and I’m proud to be a Canadian champion. I want to play every game but most importantly I wanted to play this game. I wanted to win this trophy.”
“Whether I played or not, I would have been celebrating the same,” he added. “I love this team, I love this club, and the fans have been outstanding for us all season long.”
A LEGEND IS BORN
Pa-Modou Kah (facial fracture) didn’t play on Wednesday.
But boy, he made his presence felt.
In the dying moments of the match, Kah got the crowd going on the sidelines with a few of his teammates. Then, he hopped on a hoverboard and showed off his dance moves before parading the Voyageurs Cup around the pitch.
It was legendary – there’s no other way to describe it.
Turns out Kah made his presence felt earlier in the night too, when he delivered a pre-game speech moments before kickoff with the team huddled on the sidelines.
“He put his jacket down, and the logo was on the floor, and he said it’s about that tonight,” Robinson told reporters. “From someone who’s not playing, that means a hell of a lot to the group.”
THE FIRST OF MANY?
“This is the first of many for us this year.”
Teibert uttered those words four times during his post-match interview. The Niagara Falls, Ontario native, of course, was referring to the fact that Whitecaps FC are very much in contention to bring home some more silverware later in the season.
The Cascadia Cup will be on the line when Whitecaps FC host Seattle Sounders FC on September 19 at BC Place, and the ‘Caps also have their sights set on the MLS Supporters’ Shield as well as the ultimate prize: the MLS Cup.
It won’t be easy – far from it.
But there’s a sense around the group that they’re not done yet.
“We have to get used to winning trophies, we have to get used to winning championships,” Teibert said. “Like everybody has been saying, it’s our time. It’s our time now."
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