Five Great Whitecaps Moments
It was always going to be challenging time for the team with the step up in competition and accompanying adjustments to the travel and other administrative demands of the superior league, but the Whitecaps managed to field a competitive squad just about every week.
Although their final record was near the bottom of the MLS standings, the ‘Caps supplied a number of stirring moments that will keep their supporters engaged until the 2012 season.
We present the five sweetest times of their inaugural campaign in 2011 in reverse order.
Canada’s choice for the national U-17 player of the year was Bryce Alderson, a Vancouver Whitecaps youth academy player, who led Team Canada (along with two other Whitecaps prospects) to their first ever points at a U-17 World Cup, in draws against England and Rwanda.
Alderson’s impressive display indicates that the Whitecaps are working hard to develop their players and team for long term success.
4. International Power
Vancouver signs Young-Pyo Lee of South Korea, who is a major star in his country having earned 127 international caps. He has appeared in three World Cup tournaments as a defensive stalwart, and memorably reached the semi-finals in 2002 in his home country.
Lee’s calm and experience will solidify the back line of the Whitecaps, while his appeal will help broaden the team’s support.
3. BC Place
Vancouver packs the lower bowl of BC Place with 20,000+ supporters in their late season stadium opener, providing the team with an impressive facility that may well attract other players, and demonstrating that the BC Lions and Vancouver Canucks are not the only big draw games in town.
Eric Hassli’s spectacular dipping shot back across his body from the far right side of the 18 yard box into the top left corner of the Seattle Sounders net earned him a place as one of the best three plays of the MLS season.
1. Opening Day
The March 3rd opening day blockbuster 4-2 victory over national rivals Toronto FC showcased the MLS game at its best with thrilling action and outstanding goals.
It was a great way to kick off top level professional soccer in Vancouver
What are your favourite Vancouver Whitecaps memories of 2011?